Why do we work? This pressing question can be answered a million ways: for your family; for your community; for your children; for the love of your career, for the need to do something more; for our future; the list goes on.
For business leaders across the world, philanthropy is a guiding light, and a determining factor, in the why behind a company. Working for the betterment of others, alongside a non-profit mission, focuses your business strategy, and is a personally directed extra-curricular endeavor to benefit a charity, social cause, or public good. Often, this is done by partnership with a charity, non-profit or public organization.
However, philanthropy, like any business decision, has to be strategized and financed correctly, and often the not-for-profit drive can be under funded, or completely lost, in the deluge of daily business management. It’s hard to remember the good you can do when your day-to-day dominates your time.
COVID-19 has certainly not helped those who are looking to do more, with less: for instance, in the UK 1 in 10 charities faces insolvency by the end of the year, with a £6.4 billion shortfall in overall charitable support.
But philanthropy isn’t just a decision to build a rainy day fund, or to bequeath a lump sum in the future, or even to only step in during a crisis – it’s something every company can do now, can benefit from now, and crucially your commitment can offer help in your community, right now.
Partnering with a non-profit is one of the most positive, and productive, things you can do – both for you, as a business leader, but also for your team, your community and your beneficiaries.
Your company goodwill and learning
· Your people are your company, and partnering with a non-profit gives your people, your brand and your product (be in a service or a product) a new focus: you can build volunteer programs into your calendar; re-focus production quotas to deliver surplus product to those in need; build KPI’s around charitable targets, all of which builds a meaningful end result for your staff, and generates endless goodwill within your team and is a vital tool in building morale.
· Partnerships can also give your staff an outlet to learn new skills, generate a new network and the ability to do good in their communities. Let them do it!
· It goes without saying that your relationship with a non-profit is not transactional, and your brand is not the sole focus of any relationship built with a greater good in mind. But corporate and brand goodwill will, naturally, build over time with your staff, your advocates and your community through the good work you’re doing. Embrace it, talk about, but don’t lose sight of the why!
· Partnering with a non-profit is the most effective way of opening up your company to a new community and a new audience. No matter how you engage with a non-profit – be it purely financially, or more tangibly through volunteering, mentoring or donating product – you’re finding a new channel to talk about the things that matter to you, the reason behind why you’re building a connection with this non-profit, and how you feel you’ll make a difference.
· It could also build awareness within your own business or customer audience who may not know about your company outreach or the support you give to non-profits and charitable bodies. Tell them about it, be proud of the work you’re doing, and let them know their support of you goes a long way to supporting your chosen non-profits.
· Your company could be instrumental in helping a non-profit reach a certain goal, engage with a new audience or meet a financial target. You can tangibly affect the effectiveness of a non-profit through your actions, literally changing lives and communities through even limited support. Remember to focus on the greater good, and connect to non-profits who are experts at opening doors and changing lives – they’re the experts. Learn from them!