In today’s world businesses have successfully overcome the overly exaggerated cliché of being cold, ruthless and never giving back to the society. Donating a portion of your sales is a must. It is evident from the way some of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs donate, they are genuinely interested in uplifting the society. Businesses are now focusing on doing the right thing and are of course rewarded handsomely in return. It becomes crucial to understand why more and more organizations have started donating and why you should be doing the same.
The notion of businesses being greedy
Yes, Corporate greed is a real thing and even though Fortune 500 companies and other large organizations live up to the reputation of being “greedy”, small businesses and entrepreneurs certainly don’t deserve to be associated with this label.
According to a study done by Harris Interactive and Ernst and Young, small businesses and entrepreneurs are more likely to donate and give back to charitable organizations. It is clear that greed is a fallacy and it’s about time we reevaluated the popular opinion in regard to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Here’s how donating a portion of your sales will benefit your organization:
- Building respect and goodwill
It goes without saying that organizations who donate and are actively involved with the causes of the society tend to be respected and have cordial relations with the society than those who don’t. You have to consider getting involved with the society at one point in time or the other because there isn’t enough interaction with the customers to know what they really want.
This changes when you get more and more involved with the social causes and by giving back to the society, you begin to understand who your customers are, why they do what they do and the reasons behind it. Apart from understanding the needs and requirements of your customers, you also get to understand how you can serve them in the future.
- Uplifting the society
It seems pretty obvious, but organizations need to realize how only a little effort and time put in by them can have a major impact on the lives of people around them. Donating to a local community or a school gives everyone a sense of satisfaction and acts as a motivator.
Apart from that, it is seen that organizations that take up green initiatives or environmental causes lead a healthier and a more beautiful environment in the immediate area. Google’s “China Social Innovation Cup for College Students” is an apt example of how organizations can uplift the society.
- Forging a deeper connection with the Employees
Giving back to the society isn’t just about writing a check and sending it off to an organization, rather it is about being completely involved in the causes of the society. Devoting your time and money go hand-in-hand. Therefore, we advise you to align your business goals with a good cause and engage your employees so that they feel a greater sense of purpose. By doing so, you are presenting the employees with the opportunity to gain something more out of their regular jobs and this will definitely set you apart from your competitors.
Moreover, by providing employees with this opportunity, leaders gain respect in their eyes and makes them more loyal and committed towards the organization. Now that is what we call a win-win situation!
- Gaining Favorable Public Attention
Whether you sponsor a charitable program or volunteer your organizations’ time or do both, they are all great ways to raise awareness about the specific cause and also in highlighting your organizations’ active involvement and participation regarding the issues. Every organization aims at gaining positive public attention, but only a few are able to do so. However, if you are genuinely involved in all the activities, you will, without a doubt gain positive publicity.
- Building connections and networking
Every businessman or an entrepreneur wants to be associated with someone more powerful, someone with more resources. Connections are an invaluable source for an entrepreneur or a businessman and successful corporate leaders understand the concept of promoting public opinions that are in the favor of your organization helps in boosting the internal morale and also improving the immediate area you live in. Either that or you can choose to grease the wheels of a local politician by donating a handsome amount of money, both the ways will help you achieve the same goal: to build connections and expand your network.
Getting Involved with the Charities
If your business is still not involved with charitable work, it is probably because you are unaware of the opportunities that exist right in front of you. Following are some of the ways to help you get involved with the charities:
- Find a relatable cause
You need to identify and search for causes that your organization can associate with. It shouldn’t be forced or uncomfortable, rather, it should be a natural fit. Take a moment to realize the issues you deeply care for and then seek out need-based opportunities or charitable institutions that could use your expertise.
For example, Coco-Cola supports Global Environment and Technology Foundation’s work in Africa to replenish water sources, provide education and also to improve access to safe drinking water.
- Donating a portion of sales
It actually makes a lot of sense to go ahead and donate a portion of your company’s sales to a specific charity or someone in need like Wells Fargo, a renowned Financial services company, aims to donate between 1.2% and 1.5% of its earnings each year.
Instead of following what organizations are doing, work out a strategy that works for you; it doesn’t have to be a “buy one give one” strategy, you can choose to donate a specific percentage of your profits to charity like Classmate notebooks by ITC contribute ₹1 for every four notebooks they sell to their social development initiative that supports a number of projects including primary education.
This is, by far, the easiest way to do something worthwhile and build a good rapport with the customers and the society.
- Set up your own fund
If you are unable to find a relatable or a suitable charitable cause, then consider starting one on your own. A lot of entrepreneurs have already done it and you can not only seek advice from them but also see how incredibly meaningful it is to their organization and to the people they serve. Establishing your own fund or charity is an excellent way to give back.
- Giving Back is Gratifying
Look back at all the reasons why you should give back to the society and you will realize how utterly gratifying it is to help people around you have a better life because of you. People in need will benefit, your business will flourish and you will actually be able to see the difference you have made.
Getting associated with a Charitable Institution
Before you sign that check for the charitable institution, here are three things you must do:
- Evaluating the organization
Once you have made a decision of being associated with a charitable institution, you should make sure that it is legitimate and their goals align with yours. Take assistance of websites like charitynavigator.org, they will provide you with all the necessary information regarding the finance, performance, accountability, leadership compensation, revenue, expenses, and will also offer you tips to select a worthy charity.
A thorough evaluation will ensure that the donation you make is deductible. We recommend you check the charity’s exemption status with the IRS while you’re at it.
- Determining the amount of money you should give
You can donate entire life’s saving, that won’t hurt anyone (except maybe you) but if you want to claim a tax deduction then it is advisable to check it out by your attorney as different types of organizations get different tax returns.
- Maintaining detailed records
Lastly, don’t shy away from paperwork. For every donation you make- cash or otherwise- we recommend you to maintain detailed records outlining the date, amount, along with other vital details of the institution.