Corporate social responsibility has quickly gone from a nice competitive advantage to an absolute must for modern companies. Consumers often favor brands that practice philanthropy and sustainability, and employees — especially Millennials — are more attracted to organizations that use their profits to do good in the world.
For businesses on a smaller budget, it can seem impossible to compete with larger corporations that donate tens of thousands of dollars to charity each year. However, there are still ways for your company to get involved in social causes without giving away all of your hard-earned dollars.
Below, five members of Forbes Business Development Council share one cost-effective way for your small business to make philanthropy part of your brand.
1. Donate Goods Or Services Instead of Cash
I have been involved with nonprofits and frequently had corporate sponsors whose sponsorship was based on donating goods or services. Some examples: an app developer creating apps for free, employees volunteering their time while on the clock, helping with nonprofit marketing by using their database and social media, and donating physical goods such as sample products. – Robin Farmanfarmaian, Invicta Medical
2. Give Your Time
If you’re cash-strapped, your time is still incredibly valuable. For example, we volunteer hours to build furniture at the Furniture Bank of Atlanta, actively turning our time into something that improves the lives of others. Sponsor events (as we have with Women Who Code’s We RISE) that tie into core cultural values of your company. Do good with your philanthropy; don’t focus solely on your brand. – Kyle Porter, SalesLoft
3. Empower Employees to Make a Difference
As a small business, incorporating philanthropic tie-ins is a great way to drive employee engagement. The most effective way to introduce a program in the early stage is to make it part of your company’s core values and empower an employee-run committee to coordinate opportunities for inclusion. If philanthropy is part of everyone’s job, the company can make a big impact with limited resources. – Lisa Box, WP Engine, Inc.
4. Partner With a Local Charity
Businesses that partner with local charities are able to give back to their community while connecting their employees to the heart of their philanthropic goals. For example, participating in serving lunch together at the Nashville Rescue Mission not only builds our teams, but grounds our people as we count the blessings of our customers and their investment in us. – Chris Lukasiak, MyHealthDirect
5. Find Something Meaningful That People Want to Be a Part Of
Philanthropy should be about a cause that you and your employees believe in. The most important part is to find one that has meaning to you and your coworkers. Make t-shirts and participate in a walk, help at a fundraiser, or volunteer to be on a board. Give your time; it makes a huge difference. – Dustin Mangas, Pure Executive Health & Wellness
Forbes Business Development Council is an invitation-only community for sales and biz dev executives. Do I qualify?
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