Giving to Help Your Business
Giving is a personal decision. No matter what level of success you have achieved in business, you will be asked for donations and sponsorships. Whether you are a multi-million dollar company or a solo entrepreneur just making ends meet — people and organizations will ask for your help. Giving can help or hinder, depending on how you manage it.
Why does this happen?
- Others will assume that you are successful as long as you are in business.
- People always equate success with wealth.
- Charitable organizations survive on donations/sponsorships.
So what do you do? How do you choose?
The biggest companies making millions and even billions of dollars don’t say yes to everyone. In fact, they are more judicious in charitable giving than most small businesses are. Why? Because they get more requests. They are highly visible, so more people know who they are. Judiciousness doesn’t mean that they aren’t giving charitably…it just means that they have a process and internal policies to follow.
Some things that big businesses do:
- They establish policies. There are specific ways that requestors must request a donation. Whether through a portal on their website, submitting a form, or requiring a request in writing, these companies make sure that all appropriate questions are answered, and that there is a paper trail for all requests and responses.
- They complete due diligence, making sure that the charitable organization is a true 501(c)3, allowing for any donation to be a tax benefit.
- They establish annual budgets. Establishing a budget allows for several things, including the ability to say no when the budget is exhausted, setting limits per request fulfilled, and keeping total charitable expenditures within limits.
- They choose charities that meet specific criteria. They choose to give based on what the charity promotes, how long the non-profit has been around, and how global vs. local the charity is.
- They’re not afraid to make it known. Giving is good for a non-profit, but it’s also good for the donor or sponsor. Good will can help a business get publicity and score PR points for making clients/customers feel good about the company – but only when the information is public and the clientele is aware.
So how can you be like big business?
- Set your own policies. Create an avenue by which requests must be processed. This will help funnel requests through your process, making it easier for you to make an informed decision.
- Make sure your money is tax-deductible. Ensure that any organization you give to is a 501(c)3 and meets the IRS definition of a charitable organization/not-for-profit so that your donation helps you financially, too.
- Make sure that your charitable giving doesn’t impede your ability to do business. Don’t injure your cashflow just to be nice.
- Choose based on your selected criteria. You can decide what kinds of organizations you want to support. Maybe education is your go-to, or a cancer organization, or children, or animals. Make decisions and set policies to guide your giving.
- Shout it out. Making a donation? Sponsoring an event? Send out press releases. Put it in your newsletter. Post it on your social media. Make it known that your business has a heart. Customers are more likely to spend money with a company when they think their purchase supports others in need.
Above all — be empowered to say yes or to say no. Your job isn’t to save every organization. Your job is to fulfill YOUR mission statement. So go ahead and give, but do it according to the rules you establish for yourself and your business.
Want to talk more about how giving can help you? Contact us!