Giving back to your community or a cause has lots of intangible benefits; it feels good to help other people, and it connects us to something greater than ourselves. As a small or medium-sized business, you may have wondered whether there are tangible business benefits as well. Rest assured, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!” Large corporations and well-known organizations are giving back in the millions — think Warby Parker, TOMS, and Microsoft.
Here are the top four reasons why supporting charities and nonprofits is good for your small to medium-sized business:
Businesses who give back and incorporate social responsibility into their business practices can see increased sales.
A recent survey of more than 1,100 consumers conducted by Cox Business, the commercial division of Cox Communications, found that 71 percent of the respondents would spend more money at a small business if it supported a social cause.
In addition, companies like Amazon and eBay both have seen increased sales and decreased cart abandonment by using checkout donations; eBay’s is called ‘Giving Works’. Essentially, buyers can make a donation to their favorite charity during the checkout process when buying any item on eBay. It’s an interesting concept that small and medium-sized businesses can apply as well.
Better employee engagement and productivity
Establishing a formal strategy to give back can also translate to better employee engagement and increased productivity. Jonathan Becker, a workplace culture expert and partner at Great Place to Work, says “People almost always want to make some sort of impact—in their work and in their communities,” he said. “The leading employers let them do both by combining employees’ ideas, skills,and goodwill for worthy causes. Giving the team this sense of ownership in the positive things their company does is good for everybody.”
This is especially true with Millennials. Millennials view a company’s social responsibility philosophy and charitable giving strategy as a key factor when choosing an employer. Taking it one step further, another study found that employers who “consulted and included” their employees in the company’s charitable giving saw a 13% increase in employee productivity.
Increased customer loyalty
Now let’s talk about customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is incredibly important in today’s world, but also is one of the hardest things to earn as a business. So how does customer loyalty correlate to your company’s charitable giving? Well, 90% of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to buy from one associated with a cause. Wow, that number is staggeringly high! It’s pretty clear that supporting a cause helps build a strong relationship with your customers. The bottom line is that people care about where their money goes and what it supports!
Great publicity opportunities
Of course, giving back is absolutely not about the PR, but it can provide great exposure for your business. Blogging about your social giving strategy, posting photos of employee volunteers and organizations you support, and press releases are all great ways to educate consumers on your brand values and giving philosophy. Charities and non-profit organizations are usually happy to recognize donors by thanking them in published literature, websites, and at their events, which are all great opportunities for exposure and new customers.
Just do it
Small and medium-sized businesses sometimes mistakenly think they don’t have enough revenues or are not big enough to make an impact. We urge you to reframe your thinking. Entrepreneur and lawyer Chidike Samuelson wrote an article for Entrepreneur and said “We are in the era of giving back and social impact. Businesses should face this, and stop using the fact that they are not yet ‘big businesses’ as an excuse for boycotting charitable involvements or social responsibility. Businesses that do this are missing out on the great benefits hidden on the other side of socially responsible companies.” We couldn’t agree more!
As professional members of the community, we have a responsibility to help those who are less fortunate and give back to better our communities, regardless of the business benefits. However, we are confident about saying that in the next 10 years, businesses who don’t have a charitable giving strategy or social impact strategy will likely be the exception, not the norm.