Maybe you know it as corporate social responsibility, charitable giving, or philanthropy, but we view the way businesses give back as community building. We’re passionate about it and think that when done right, there are numerous benefits to you, your business, and your community, especially when in alignment.
Gone are the days when you could simply cut a check to a well-known charity to improve your brand image. With access to so much information at our fingertips, customers are much savvier and expect the businesses they invest in to share their values. One of the ways that we can express those values is by giving back. This starts with understanding your mission, vision, and values and then strategically selecting how to give back in alignment.
Some small business owners found their companies with this alignment in mind from the get-go. Others might feel like they need to become established before it matters. Our opinion is that it’s never too soon to start giving back, increasing the likelihood that it will become a non-negotiable part of your business as well as provide the maximum impact.
Choosing the nonprofits that speak to you and your business is just as personal as your brand. The organizations that you align yourself with will reflect on the business you’re building so when doing your research, you’ll want to look for organizations that you’ll be proud to promote your association with.
Here are some questions to help guide you through your selection process:
- What kind of support can you give? (Time, money, or both)
- Have you been impacted personally or professionally by something that you feel a connection with? (Example: A close friend or family member who’s been diagnosed with cancer may inspire you to participate in Pelotonia.)
- What organizations align with your product or service offerings? (Example: You own a restaurant so start donating to the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.)
- Do you have employees? Are there opportunities for them to volunteer also?
- What are the organization’s values and mission? Are there similarities/connections to your business mission and values?
- How connected would you like to be with the organization you select? (Example: Do you have an interest in helping to guide the organization through joining its board or would you rather be hands-off?)
Once you’ve done your research, you should be able to easily select the nonprofit organization that you’d like to support and align with them. Next, you’ll want to determine how you’d like that relationship to look, and then communicate with that nonprofit organization.
Use these examples to get started:
- The Mid-Ohio Food Collective provides sustenance to families in need. They offer hands-on volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups. Sponsor their organization, create an employee giving program, or host a fundraiser for them.
- To connect with other small businesses to amplify your impact, you can participate in many different activities with Small Biz Cares. They are a 501(c)3 that mobilizes small businesses to create lasting impacts in our communities.
- Moved by arts and entertainment? Identify an organization like CAPA Columbus that changes lives through the arts.
Looking for a comprehensive list of nonprofits that you could work with? Try searching through The Columbus Foundation’s database. Its Giving Store includes a list of over 1200 local nonprofits to learn more about and select from.
Here are a few of the numerous benefits of aligning your business with a cause:
- Increased brand recognition
- Create a good reputation and increase goodwill
- Improve the quality of life in our communities
- Learn and improve through new relationships
You can do tremendous good in your communities now by giving back. Use your skills, reputation, time, energy, and/or funds to make a positive impact. It’s easy to do, it’s fun, and it’s inspiring. Let us know how you give back. We’d love to include your inspiring stories here.