Corporate social responsibility and charitable marketing activities reflect h3ly on how a business is seen by the public. As people the world over increasingly put pressure on companies to be "good citizens" by acting in a fair, ethical and sustainable way, it's more important than ever that companies seek to make a positive impact through supporting and giving back to their communities.
Why take part in charity marketing?
Small businesses only need look towards big corporations to see why charity marketing is a viable trend. Telstra, for example, knows the impact it has on the people in their communities. The company makes clear on its website that it is aware of the responsibility that success brings1. It not only provides assistance to financially-challenged customers through its Access for Everyone programs, but the company also distributes grants to grassroots organisations through the Telstra's Kids Fund.
Like Telstra, many large organisations engage in charitable acts. Not only do these activities benefit the community at large, there are benefits to companies as well - for example, by providing a substantial tax deduction. In recent years, small businesses have also begun to realise the many advantages of charitable giving and regularly participate in tax-deductible contributions of both time and resources.
The many benefits of charity marketing
Charity marketing is a win-win situation that allows businesses to receive free exposure while helping organisations and individuals. Some of the benefits are:
Charity marketing strengthens your brand and reputation.
Charity marketing builds goodwill between you, your customers and the community, which is shown to have a positive impact on your bottom line2.
Socially responsible businesses tend to have happier employees.
Socially responsible businesses have an easier time attracting potential investors.
Studies show that consumers prefer socially responsible companies. In fact, 66 per cent of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society.3
Starting your own charitable campaign
To get the most of the marketing your charitable activities can provide, here are a few tips:
Choose the right cause or charity:
Chances are, you share your customers' interests, but it's important to choose a charity that will fit your business too. A business that sells fitness products would be a good choice to sponsor a marathon with proceeds benefiting a heart foundation, for instance.
Partner with a charitable organisation:
Contact a local organisation you believe in to set up a mutually-beneficial partnership. In exchange for promoting and sponsoring the charity, ask for your logo to be included on all marketing materials.
Choose an annual event or seasonal campaign and offer to sponsor that event. The charity will benefit from the funds and your business will benefit from the publicity. For even better results, brand the campaign.
Get your employees behind you:
Ask them what causes and organisations are close to their heart and how they would be willing to participate.
Promote your support. While it may seem self-serving to tout your sponsorship or donation, it's a great way to get the name of the charity out there. If other businesses (including your competitors) choose to support the same cause, the benefits to the charitable organisation, as well as the community at large, will be even greater.
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This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Kathleen has a degree in marketing with over 10 years experience in the IT field as a database developer and web designer. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several publications across Australia as well as for various business and hi-tech blogs online.