As a small to medium size business owner, you may be thinking of ways to give back to your community which in many cases is by supporting a local charity, and worthy causes. And in addition to helping people in need, aligning with the right charitable organization, can be another effective element in your overall marketing strategy by not only broadening your network, gaining brand exposure, creating public relation opportunities, increasing customer loyalty, but ultimately supporting business growth.
Finding charities is an easy task; However, choosing the right charity for your business is rarely an easy decision. There are important factors to consider, along with pitfalls to avoid. Business owners need to carefully evaluate their charities of choice, as the charity you choose reflects back on your company - both the good, and the bad.
Before choosing just any local charity, take a few moments to review the following tips:
Develop a short list of charities that ‘fit’ your company: Come up with 3 to 5 charities that your senior team would be proud to support. The short list of charities should align with your business goals and company mission as it is important for values to compliment each other and have a shared purpose.
Do a background check: Make sure your charities on the short list are all registered. If they are not registered, please remove them from your list. The easiest way to check is by searching the CRA database. All registered charities are listed in the database. When you search the CRA database, you will also be able to view the charity's profile which details their most recent tax returns. Also, calling each charity is a good idea. Asking questions such as ‘How will donations be spent for the upcoming year?” or ‘What percentage of donations go to administration fees?” will give you invaluable insight to how your money will be spent.
Ask your employees: The heart of your business is your employees’ and there is no better way to ensure success in your charitable program than to have employees fully engaged in the decision making. Choosing a cause that your employees care about will get everyone excited and yield better campaign participation. Getting employees feedback can be easy, one idea is to send your employees a quick survey (there are plenty of free online tools available) and have them select their charity of choice based on your short list.
Finding a charity that is a successful match to your company values and employee interest, can lead to a fulfilling partnership and helping others in your community.
What charities do you support and why?