“What’s in it for me” is a phrase used in marketing to make sure that the correct audience is being reached in any specific piece. However, it rains true in almost any industry. Most people want to know “what’s in it for me”, no matter what you’re talking about, even when it comes to philanthropy. This is where the lines between selfishness and selflessness have become blurred.
Philanthropists do not have to be rich or poor, they give their time, money or provide their skills to help benefit others. It is the purest form of philanthropy, and probably the most rewarding.
However, over the years more and more groups have wanted to know what they get out of giving, and so charities have built in marketing perks to reward big donors. But the true key isn’t the size of your sign or the amount of recognition you receive from an organization. Many people can see through that now. It’s finding opportunity in sacrifice to create social value.
Identifying the link between philanthropy and your corporate competitive advantage can help your organization understand the where, why, and how you should focus your corporate giving strategy. This focused understanding helps creates greater value, both internally and externally, and highlights ways to achieve the greatest social and economic impact.
You’ll improve employee morale and they’ll feel good about where they work – Cultivating a culture of giving back to others helps young professionals feel proud to be a pillar of positive change within their community, more satisfied with being part of an enlightened company, and therefore, more productive in their roles. If your organization has eco-conscious initiatives, a lot of your younger employees are already on the “go green” bandwagon and will be excited to work for a company that is also highly focused on preserving the earth’s resources for future generations.
Increase company visibility – While this strays back towards the selfish side of giving, your organization can have a positive impact if you believe in what you are working towards and it blends with your corporate culture, employee strengths and brand.
- Employee volunteers can wear branded shirts during their volunteer time and will most likely take pictures for social media that will help spread the positive images.
- Socially support your cause and if they believe in your products or services, they can support you as well, helping to spread information across different platforms to help build both of your brands.
- Name association can happen when you find a cause that that your organization is passionate about and can easily associate. Your two brands can help lift one another and brand each other.
Customers like to do business companies that give back – Generation Z will make up 31% of the world’s population by 2021 and their deeply formed perceptions and beliefs about organizations being planet friendly are causing a wave of eco-disruption across many industries, from products and services to laws and philanthropy. Gen Z is changing the way businesses think and operate and is willing to disassociate themselves with companies that do not change.
Where should your organization focus?
Look towards your organizational strengths and what your employees enjoy, then help charities that meet at that crossroads. Here are a few general examples that may help you think of ways to get started based on your employee composition:
- Your office is primarily made up of clerical employees with families. Consider focusing on animals or children and sponsoring backpack drives for back to school, angel tree, business skills training programs and canned food drives.
- You’re in the hospitality or tourism industry and your employees have a wide range of skills, from culinary to construction. Consider focusing on the homeless, veterans, the sick or disabled that need help. Work on projects with Habitat for Humanity, cook for a local food kitchen, or sponsor a hands-on handyman workshop to improve the skills of the unemployed.
- You’re in the IT industry and robots, infrastructure and games are what your team know. Consider helping the sick or disabled or donating man hours towards any organization that needs help with their online presence. Creating new apps or technologies that can help make life easier for someone can be rewarding on many levels.
Find a good cause that you and your employees are passionate about and can get behind and start making a difference.