How to Choose a Charity to Contribute to as a Business
I place a lot of emphasis on giving back–during the holidays and all year long–so I am often asked which charities I recommend, especially for businesses.
The short answer is that this can be very personal, and I encourage you to give where ever you feel called, but it’s not always that simple. The fact is, someone will be offended by your choice. I’m sorry to say this, but it’s true. So, it’s important to pick a charity that aligns with your beliefs both personally, and as a company. All of the charities I mention in this blog I have personally worked with and supported, but if there is an organization you feel called to help, then listen to that calling and go from there.
With all of this in mind, when I am trying to incorporate philanthropic events into my business, the easiest option is usually to choose local. Look at your own community and identify a need that you can help alleviate. Not only will this allow you to reach out to those in your immediate vicinity, but it will help you feel closer to your community as a whole. Local food banks, local environmental agencies, local youth groups, anything that can get you out and make a difference is a good choice.
The second easiest option is to choose or recommend a charity that relates to your industry. For example, if you work in construction or vacation rentals, you might consider donating to Habitat for Humanity. If you are a doctor, you might choose a Medical Mission Group like MEDICO. Women’s clothing store? Why not look into Women Helping Women’s clothing drive? Does your business involve children? Consider setting up an Angel Tree at your facility. Choosing a like-minded company will make donating so seamless, that it becomes policy.
There are countless charitable companies that are looking for help year-round, so there is no shortage of options. But again, the most important thing to consider when aligning a charity with your business is whether it aligns with your company and brand. Now, I’m not saying you can’t contribute to the charity of your choice, but when you are adding your business’ name to this donation, consider the impact that might have on you, your business, your brand, and your ideal customer.
Again, it’s your choice, but if 90% of your ideal customer eats ice cream, then maybe don’t make your company’s official charity an anti-ice cream company. Yes, that is purposefully vague, but you get the idea.
By the same token, if you feel strongly about an organization, shout it from the mountain tops, loudly and proudly, but be prepared for the backlash, even if you don’t think (or understand why) it will come. I was genuinely surprised when I first got flack for supporting Tunnel to Towers. It happens, but in the end, I was willing to lose clients for a cause I believed in. You may have to make that decision, too.
Everyone has an opinion, but few can deny the pure joy that volunteering and donating give. So, this holiday season, don’t be afraid to add “giving back” to your list of things to do and celebrate…Choose a Charity to Contribute to as a Business
What are YOUR favorite charities?