Philanthropy is a great American business tradition. The word itself evokes some of the greatest entrepreneurs the country has seen – Rockefeller, Chuck Feeney, Bill and Melinda Gates. With good reason, philanthropy is seen as a noble cause for companies with large assets.
Philanthropy takes many forms and can be a wonderful boost to your business. Whether that’s fundraising, directly contributing to local projects or allowing staff to volunteer for charity, there are a number of benefits engaging in philanthropy will bring, for both established businesses and new startups.
One of the major ways that giving back to the local community can benefit business is through the upskilling of those communities. By investing in programs that benefit both the youth and employment force of the area, businesses can create their own legacy in that town or city. Investor Jason Sugarman has long echoed this sentiment, demonstrating how the provision of digital equipment via philanthropy funds can provide a workforce for years to come.
Being the driving force behind the upskilling of a whole town or community will also serve to enhance your reputation, as covered in the next section.
The most visible and straightforward manner in which philanthropy boosts your business is reputation. Having a well-earned image for helping those in need will inspire people to go for your products. If you’re in the retail market, a good reputation can mean your products on shelves.
Having a good reputation in the local community can also help with securing employees in the future. Employees and families in the local area will have your company in mind. Indeed, personal connections from philanthropy are one of the best benefits of giving back.
There is a positive-feedback-effect here, too. A company with a good reputation is likely to attract more sales and that money will go back into the local area. Between the money provided to the local area and the educational/skills benefits of your company, you can expect better skilled and better paid workers.
Can Small Businesses Give Back?
Philanthropy labors under the reputation it has as being the hallmark of super-rich or institutional businesses. There is a perception that the only people who can give back on any scale are those companies that dominate entire towns, or the super-rich owners of companies who have a fortune to give away. The truth, however, couldn’t be further away from this reality. Taking the above points into consideration, it’s arguable that small businesses can earn at least as much as big business from giving to charity and the local community. Small businesses thrive on sales to build capital, and being able to develop a good reputation for your business will put you in good stead to gather more of those all-important sales.
The main drain on a new startup in terms of giving away is time. And time is money. To counter this, you can first empower your employees to volunteer on the company’s behalf, as set out above. Building on from this, consider giving away products, thus reducing your loss of profits, or mold your business into being charity first. There are multiple apps for making charity day-to-day available on the web, most of which can be adapted to a business environment.
So there you have it. Philanthropy is a valuable, noble tool, that can be put to work by businesses big and small. Not just a way of boosting your reputation, it can develop the workforce for years to come and boost revenue to boot.