There are many good reasons for a business to be philanthropic starting with using their resources to help others in need. While that is the underpinning behind any charitable donation, philanthropy can help businesses in several other ways. Philanthropy connects a company with a community. For instance, if you are a small business donating money and other resources to helping adults learn to read, you connect with everyone involved in that effort. You are creating social goodwill for your brand.
Doing It Right: Toms Shoes
One company that is famous for its philanthropy is Toms Shoes. For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms Shoes donates a pair to needy children. In doing so the company not only helps children who need shoes, they also spread goodwill for themselves in the communities they help. Toms Shoes is so dedicated to this program that they are now held up as an example of how to donate. They stay within their own market, shoes, and anytime someone sees a pair of Toms Shoes they are reminded of the philanthropic nature of the brand. Additionally, the philanthropy is a marketing tool for Toms Shoes because there are many stories about their donations and how they manage them.
Popular Philanthropy Models
There are many ways that companies can donate, however the most popular methods are:
1. Volunteer grant programs that donate money to non-profit organizations for time that employees invest
2. Matching gift programs that add to employee donations to non-profits
Apple has a corporate giving program that matches their employees’ donations up to $10,000 per year and has given millions to charities using this method. However, while a large business like Apple may be able to donate millions of dollars, smaller companies may not have that kind of cash reserve. Another option is working with a local charity and having employees bring in items from a list of needs that an organization compiles. The company can then match the donation or offer hours of labor on related projects.
Donating Your Core Business
Applying your company’s strength, knowledge or expertise in your industry in a charitable fashion whether it is shoes, computer knowledge, or carpentry, lets your community know what you are selling while donating valuable skills and time to help others in need.
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