Small business are gaining a lot of traction, and a lot of customers, by adding philanthropy to their business models. Whether it’s a sock company that donates a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair sold, or a purse company that employs women in impoverished areas to handcraft a line of bags, consumers love to give back when they’re shopping. While your customers are helping others while helping themselves, your small business can enhance profits and brand loyalty. Finding the right charitable match for your business can be challenging, but a successful match can lead to a fulfilling partnership, doing good while your business does well.
Establish Your Business’s Values
Before you pick a charity to partner with, you need to clarify your values. Look at your company’s mission statement to see what philosophies guide your daily actions. Do you value creativity and artistic expression? Are you focused on helping the environment? Hopefully this exercise will lead to a natural connection between your company and a potential charitable partner.
Reach Out to Your Customers
If you have already established your small business, reach out to your customers. Find out what causes and non-profit organizations they support. Choosing a cause that resonates with your customers shows that you are in tune with them and the things they value.
If your new business is still in its infancy, reach out to your potential customers. Ask them what they’re passionate about and who they’d like to see benefit from their shopping dollars.
Talk to Your Employees
Your employees are the face of your company. So make sure they value and support the company’s philanthropic endeavors. Choosing a cause that your employees care about will get everyone excited and yield better participation.
Start Shopping Charities
Once you’ve narrowed in on the type of charity that best matches your mission statement, your customers, and your employees, start shopping. Websites like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and Give.org are great resources for helping you determine the legitimacy and accountability of any given charity. If the organization does not show up on any of these databases, ask to see its letter of determination.
Follow Your Gut
If any aspect of a charitable organization makes you feel uneasy, move on. There are many amazing organizations out there that do similar work and use their funds wisely to do good deeds. Find these companies and skip any charity that gives you reason to pause.
Give Your Partnership a Trial Run
Donate a small amount to observe how the charity works during the process. Make sure to keep an eye out for accountability, transparency, and trustworthiness. If your trial run is a success, then you can try working with the charity on a larger, more visible campaign.
Partnering with a charity can require quite a bit of upfront time and research. But once you’ve found the right fit, you’ll reap the rewards of giving back to your community, and providing your customers with a feel-good experience.