For anybody running a business, prioritizing anything but the bottom line can be difficult.
However, the idea of corporate giving makes it necessary for any business, from a fledgling startup to a multimillion dollar company, to consider what they can do to give back to others. It’s a much more prominent concept now than it was years ago, and there are ways other than simply writing a check that entrepreneurs can leverage their businesses for good.
In fact, writing a check may be one of the least effective ways to approach philanthropy. There’s a lot of overlap between entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Both seek to find solutions to problems in society, and as a result, entrepreneurs should be well-suited to using their creative energies to contribute to others.
And, for entrepreneurs, philanthropy is a great way to build a brand. The primary mission should not be good PR for the company, but philanthropy can help an organization live by its values and give the public a sense of what it stands for. With that in mind, I’d like to talk about some of the ways that entrepreneurs can make philanthropy a part of their businesses.
New startups can easily become celebrated in their hometowns with a bit of networking. Even in large cities, it’s always about who you know. Entrepreneurs looking to involve their companies in philanthropy should rein themselves in at first and start at the local level, reaching out to charities in the area to form partnerships. This is a great way to become acquainted with the giving process, and, like any business, you’ll be able to scale up later.
Involve Your Audience.
A big part of a modern company is the increased ability to connect with an audience. Corporations are simply no longer as faceless as they once were, so take advantage of this and get people that are already interested in your company interested in your charitable work as well! Social media is a great way to spread the word, but be cautious about falling into the trap of raising awareness—that is, talking about a problem without offering solutions or a call of action for anybody that may be interested in helping.
Invest in Long-Term Impact
If you’ve established yourself as a successful entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to use your time, resources, and creative prowess to make a difference. One of the best ways to do this is by starting a foundation in service of a specific cause. This can often be a part of your company, and it allows you to tailor a nonprofit organization to solve problems that you’re passionate about, which is a great position to be in for any philanthropist.
Foster Passion Among Employees.
Your own efforts can often feel hollow if you don’t have the support of your company. Give them a voice when it comes to which causes to donate to, or go the extra mile and allocate some donation funds for them to give as they see fit. Philanthropy should be integrated into all aspects of your company, and it only makes sense for everyone to be involved. Volunteering efforts are also a great way to build company bonds, establish a community presence, and make an immediate difference for those in need.