On Being Charitable: How Helping Others Can Help Your Business

Research shows that giving back to your community is good for business. Some 85 percent of U.S. consumers have a more positive image of a company when they know it contributes to a cause that they, too, care about.

In a recent post, we looked at how entrepreneurs can be more charitable. Here are five ways that helping others can help your small business:

  1. Increase awareness. Participating in charitable events can give you and your employees a chance to get to know members of your community while supporting worthwhile causes. By setting up a pro bono or volunteer program, you may boost your name recognition and reputation — and make contacts who may lead you to new, paying clients down the line.
  2. Improve morale. At a time when many small-business owners can’t afford to offer raises to workers, volunteer work is a great way to give back to your employees. Allow your employees to plan and participate in events during work hours and give them related freebies, such as T-shirts or coffee mugs with the charity’s name on them. For most businesses, morale boosting is the most important part. Charitable giving is a way to help others and feel like you are giving back to the community that has supported your business and helped it grow.
  3. Get publicity. Promote your partnership with a local charity or participation in an upcoming event on your website, in your store or office, and on any marketing collateral. Ask the nonprofit to reciprocate — and provide a digital copy of your logo. Sponsors are usually listed on program materials at charitable events, and sometimes they’re even listed on signage. Issue a press release for bigger events.
  4. Clean out your pantry. Many companies participate in annual food drives. You and your employees could, too — and help feed the hungry without having to invest a lot of extra time or money. Ask your staff to bring non-perishable food items, either unused from their pantries or newly purchased, to your place of business in the days leading up to the drive.
  5. Tax benefits. You can claim your volunteer time and monetary and in-kind contributions to nonprofit groups on your income taxes. These deductions could significantly reduce the money you owe.

About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who also works in information systems. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.
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