As you may know, Hannah and Lauren – Iconic Resourcing’s co-founders and directors – recently ran a half marathon to raise money for Alzheimer’s Scotland, a charity close to their hearts.
So, we’ve been thinking about what it means to partner with and raise money for charities, and what benefits – beyond the immediate and financial – this can have for your business.
1. Increase Brand Awareness in Your Local Community
Partnering with a local charity can raise the profile of your business within your community, and it can also give prominence to a cause that is close to your heart.
No brand is an island, to egregiously misquote John Donne. Every business relies on its employees, customers, clients, suppliers, neighbours to support or, at the very least, not oppose its operations.
Being well thought of within your industry or local community can be extremely beneficial for a whole number of reasons, not least recruitment and, for example, requiring local council planning permission to develop or expand.
Conversely, if your business is a pillar of the local community, this can allow you to promote a charitable cause that is close to your heart that, otherwise, might lack visibility. This kind of authentic and altruistic behaviour has the power to resonate with just as many stakeholders, perhaps even more so, due to the personal commitment it displays.
2. Generate Generous Media Coverage and PR
Corporate sponsorship of charitable events is an effective method of generating press and media coverage.
Working with charities to support fundraising events of all shapes and sizes can introduce your brand to a large number of volunteers, participants, sponsors and assorted media that might otherwise not comes across your business.
This can take many forms, whether providing funding for events, asking willing employees to volunteer or paying employees to support the running of the event, to providing merchandise or catering that benefits volunteers and participants.
Additionally, being able to share content, such as photographs, video, interviews, gathered at sponsored charitable events can help with online marketing and social media strategies.
3. Define Your Brand Personality Through Charity
Speaking of social media strategy, choosing and supporting specific charities can actually help to define and promote your brand voice and personality online.
According to a 2016 Cleverism article,
“A company’s brand is its promise. It represents what the company can deliver to their customers, and what the customers can expect from the company’s products and services. It embodies their customers’ perception of them.”
If you’re looking to make and deliver on a promise to your customers or clients, then you want to make sure it’s a good one – and it’s relevant.
Great examples of brand-defining charity partnerships include Haagen-Dazs championing efforts to save the honey bee, the Premier League and Prostate Cancer UK, and Disney partnering with the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
4. Boost Employee Morale by Sharing Compassionate Causes
Employees respect companies that pursue and support charitable causes and care for their communities.
Supporting charitable causes that align with corporate and employee values can also be hugely important for creating an inclusive and effective employee culture.
Increased morale leads to increased positivity and a positive workplace atmosphere. This, in turn, improves retention rates and benefits future recruitment practices.
We’ve written before about the importance of engagement in business and supporting the causes that mean the most to employees is an significant and effective way of communicating, as business leaders, that you have listened and care about your corporate culture.
5. Increase Customer Trust in Your Business
Choosing between companies offering the same products or services, 82 per cent of customers said their decision would be affected a company’s charitable giving or involvement in the local community.
This makes a lot of sense. Customers, especially younger customers, have grown up in a world and an economy defined by corporate greed and self-interest.
Showing potential customers or clients that you have a sense of social responsibility that reflects their own moral views can differentiate your brand from other businesses offering similar services.
Importantly, it can build brand loyalty, negating the need to race to the bottom or compromise on quality when of pricing your products or services.
One Last Thing: It’s a Good Thing to Do
Charity is important. Corporate charitable donations in the UK are decreasing.
It’s all well and good being able to point out the business benefits of charity partnerships, but we’d like to take a moment to stress that none of these benefits – though they may be easier to justify to your accountant – should be the primary motivation for giving.
It’s also worth addressing that clients, customers, and the general public are not easily fooled by half-hearted gestures or surface-level engagement which benefits the business more than the charitable cause.
That’s why we at Iconic recommend that, for every philanthropic act that you (quite rightly) shout and tell the world about, you do something equally generous, but quietly. Not every donation needs to be part of a marketing campaign. Not everything is made for social media.
The cynic may say that this will guard you against false accusations of self-interest – and, therefore, be self-interested itself. We say, it’ll make you feel good. Not everything in business has to be for business reasons.
We believe in giving for the sake of giving; so please give generously.
Iconic Resourcing is partnered with Alzheimer Scotland. You can read more about their mission, values, and how to make a donation here.