Giving back to the community through corporate channels is increasingly becoming a must for every business. Not only is it a chance to fulfil a sense of social responsibility, it is also a practical and generous way of taking advantage of any possible government tax relief available.
There was a time when only the big multi-nationals talked of corporate social responsibility and their motivations for doing so were obvious. In 1999, a US tobacco manufacturer reportedly gave over $75 million to charity before promptly spending $100 million advertising this fact to the world.
And studies show, consumers quickly become sceptical of these large, philanthropic acts of charity. They notice when companies pick an apology charity out of thin air, and possibly just as bad, a charity that is neutral and diplomatic, and least likely offend any potential customers.
So the question is, how do you as a company effectively choose a charity for a mutually beneficial partnership?
Know your company
Firstly, customers should be able to see a positive relationship between where your money (and in effect their money) goes and the nature or values of your company. That’s why animal food companies tend to give to animal shelters and not to medical research. Look for charities with the same core values as your company or those which your customers are likely to find sympathetic and worthy. It’s also worth shopping locally. Even if the charity operates internationally, supporting a charity based near your own company is a way of supporting your own community at the same time.
It goes without saying, when researching where to give, it is essential that you find out everything there is to know about the charity. A good place to start is on a webpage such as GiveWell.org (Authority URL: GiveWell.org). You need to assure your customers that they are supporting a charity with clear aims, realised goals and good accountability. Furthermore, the charity should be efficient with money and have low administration costs. And remember, just as you have researched your charity, so too will many of your customers.
One example of this approach is Monster Travel. The travel company sponsors People Against Poverty, a Christian charity based in the same Southwest England area. Through a social media campaign showing the travelling adventures of its charitable mascot, Malcolm the Monster, the company is able to remind customers to click in and check holidays, while at the same time giving the chosen charity additional exposure.
It’s great to see a company creating this kind of awareness. A company’s time and effort in engaging in social responsibility is easily overlooked if nothing is done to remind the customer of it. Clicking back to a charity page via the fun travels of a googly-eyed, orange monster is so much easier than posting traditional style charity shots. And it’s this mutual benefit that charity partnerships are all about.