As a business owner, you know how important it is to reach out to the larger community and support good causes. This not only makes a difference in the world but also gives your company a reputation for caring that your customers will appreciate. If you’re looking to boost your company’s philanthropy efforts, consider some of the following ideas.
Make a Philanthropy Plan
Your first step in boosting your company’s philanthropy efforts is to make a philanthropy plan. As part of the process, you might choose a set of charities to support, brainstorm efforts to get your employees involved and, of course, set a budget so that you can give enough but not too much. Your plan should be merely a guideline with enough flexibility to meet needs and opportunities that come up over time.
Start a Foundation
As part of your plan, you might consider starting a foundation supported by your company and dedicated to a particular cause. You might, for instance, provide scholarships for young people in need or raise money for projects that benefit at-risk kids. There are plenty of possibilities here. Setting up a foundation can be a little tricky, so look for role models like Cane Bay Partners, who have successfully channeled their philanthropic efforts. Get advice from an accountant and/or lawyer as well to make sure everything is properly in place.
Respond to Needs
Be sure, as you plan your philanthropy, that you pay close attention and respond to the needs of your community. Do some research, and ask around to find out which organizations could really use your support. Perhaps the local library needs new computers, or maybe the food shelf is desperate to replace a leaking roof. These kinds of special projects would be a good opportunity for your company to help out. Also, though, look for groups that need ongoing support. That same food shelf might be struggling to keep up with the demand for food. You could provide relief with a generous monthly donation.
Don’t hesitate to involve your employees in your philanthropy efforts. For one thing, they may point you in the direction of worthy organizations. But let them develop initiative of their own as well, and support their personal efforts. You might provide matching donations to their favorite charities or give them time off to work at volunteer projects. You could even plan a company-wide food or fund drive a couple of times a year to give everyone a chance to contribute.
Try In-kind Donations
Finally, never neglect the value of in-kind donations. These are goods and services your business provides to non-profits at no charge or at a deep discount. If you own a store, donate some of your products, school supplies perhaps or food or clothing. If your business specializes in computers, plumbing, electrical work or other services, look around for charities who need your help, and at least donate the cost of your labor.
Your business can make a real difference in your community if you strive to boost your philanthropy efforts using some of these ideas.