Partnering with charities is commonplace in the business sphere. Although it is not a requirement, it is something that many enterprises have adopted in their culture. Whether it is a personal pursuit of the business owner or a corporate decision, several companies involve themselves with charitable works for various reasons. Not many businesses may have the capacity to help a non-profit, but several of them have been contemplating of doing so when given the right resources and opportunity.
If it has been in your mind but doesn’t know where to start, there are a few tips you may take into account before you commit to a particular cause. For one, you have to assess first your capacity to engage your business with a charitable organisation. Whatever purpose or intent you have for doing it, helping a non-profit is not limited to philanthropy. While you can donate money, you can also make an in-kind contribution, volunteer your or your people’s time and skills, or help spread the word and promote the programs of the charity.
You may opt to support one organisation or more, but selecting the right ones can be a tedious process. With thousands of charities available out there that are in need of help, narrowing down your choice will take a bit of time and contemplation. These are a few actions that can help you in choosing the right charity for your business.
1.) Match the charity’s cause with your business values
The first thing about supporting a charity is to find the congruence of its mission and cause with your business values. If your business serves the health sector, then maybe you can categorise the charities that are doing health work. If your product addresses women’s needs or you work with farmer groups, you might prefer a non-profit that assists these sectors. Know where the heart of your business lies and select a similar environment where you can extend your passion for your business. You will find it more fulfilling when you see your business widens the community you serve by aligning your corporate vision and mission with the charity’s cause.
2.) Create a list of your preferences
Once you have filtered the charities based on their causes that match your corporate values, come up with a list of your partialities. Would you prefer a non-profit with a global scope or one that is within your locality? Maybe you want a charity where you and your team can visit and render community work. You might want to give your money to a more known charity or one that has not been on the radar of donors. Put together the things that you are looking for in a charity, pouring your mind and heart into it. That list will guide you in reducing your choices to a few charities that will best suit your business profile.
3.) Research on the background of the charity
If a particular charity complements your values and your list, it’s time to do some digging. Doing research will save you so much time, resources and heartbreaks in the future. You may want to look into the legal status of the charity, as well as the people behind it, such as its board of directors and staff. The first thing you want to know is the legitimacy of the organisation. That includes the individuals who run it. It is important for your partnership to have mutual trust and respect. Thus, choose one that you can trust the most. It is also important to know the beneficiaries and the method of their program delivery. That way, you have an idea of how your contribution, whether it is money, goods, time or reputation, can impact their lives. Also take into consideration the systems and processes of the organisation, particularly on monitoring and reporting of their programs.
4.) Consult with your team
It is also helpful to seek the opinion of your employees and staff members so that they can also participate in this undertaking, especially if there are volunteer activities involved. Projects like this can also enhance the capabilities of your people, providing them with a sense of purpose that can heighten their relationship with your company. Having employee buy-in will motivate and inspire them more rather than them looking at it as an added task. They need to have that sense of fulfilment in devoting their time and effort to the charity you’re supporting so that they have a personal stake on it, not just out of corporate obligation. On the flipside, if they are not willing to do it, it will only result in grudges and complaints among them.
5.) Check the pulse of your stakeholders
If you believe in a particular mission, it is always advantageous to involve your other stakeholders to the cause. Given that, it is better if your clients and customers can also relate to the works of the charity of your choice. Whether or not you will use cause-related marketing as a method to increase your giving, feedback from your stakeholders is helpful in your decision-making process as to which charity or charities you want to support. It also matters to them that the brands and companies they patronise give back to communities. If the cause is something close to their heart, they can relate more to the brand of your business.
You can also hear the stories of other business owners, such as members of EO Melbourne, on their experiences in partnering with charities and non-profit organisations.
When you have sifted your list of charities and chosen the ones you want to be your partner, try first a short-term arrangement and then see how the partnership will unfold. If you feel good about the result of your involvement, then you can decide to take it further to a long-term commitment or consider alternative options.
As you see your contribution bear fruit as you help improve the lives of others, the fulfilment is immeasurable, which extends to your team and stakeholders. It all comes full circle, your business benefit from a healthy society and communities flourish when you help them improve their well-being.