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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.