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Building a Brand With Philanthropy

· Ross Sanner,Leadership,Philanthropy

If you are a savvy business leader, you’ve come to realize that philanthropy is not just an option for businesses looking to improve their public image. Philanthropy is now an essential part of any company, and corporate decision making should be made with it in mind. For some businesspeople, it can be difficult to justify the cost of philanthropy, but make no mistake, giving back is an expectation in many cases, and has become increasingly integral.

 

However, donating blindly can do more harm than good, especially when attempts at philanthropy go wrong. I’d like to talk a bit about how businesses can intelligently work charitable efforts into their operations.

 

Authenticity

 

Philanthropy shouldn’t just be something a company does for the purpose of its image; it should be a key part of its culture and something that it practices internally as well. If you are a business leader, find a philanthropic mission that ties into your company’s values. Be transparent about your efforts; leave it to the public to assess whether your practices are valid. If you do well in this regard, it may very well attract like-minded talent to your company.

 

Audience connection

 

The reason that branding has become so significant in modern-day business is because of the extent to which they are involved in the lives of their customers. Take Apple, or any other technology company. Their products can be seen everywhere, and many feel a certain amount of brand loyalty to the creator of their phone or device of choice. It becomes the responsibility of companies to give back and align with the interests of their audience. 53% of consumers refuse to buy from companies that they believe have a negative societal impact, so purpose and compassion are crucial to building a business.

 

Get involved in the community

 

In keeping with audience involvement, corporate social responsibility often involves being active in the community in which it is headquartered. Often, companies will engage with local nonprofits, directly giving back through donations or arranging for volunteering efforts that they sponsor. Every community has its problems, but philanthropy is about coming up with a solution that benefits everyone.

 

Know where your donations go

 

When making donations, companies need to be aware of who they are donating to. Too many organizations claiming to be charities have collected donations that are not used to make a difference. Sites such as Charity Navigator can help businesses be smart about their philanthropy. Ill-advised attempts at philanthropy can do more harm than good, so make sure that your business has a thorough vetting process when it comes to figuring out donation plans.

 

Involve Employees

 

Employees are happier knowing that they are contributing to something positive through a company. Don’t just limit philanthropy to the upper levels of your company; give employees ways to get involved and give back or volunteer. Additionally, give them the chance to start their own philanthropic missions, and be open minded about working with them on their ideas.

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