Australian businesses are frequently asked to donate to charities and causes, and have a great record of responding generously. But while a donation is ultimately about what you value and want to support, it’s also important to think about ways that your business can benefit from the relationship.
There are a number of things that businesses can do to increase the benefit from their contribution to charities and causes. These include:
- Tell staff when you donate. One way to build trust with your staff is by showing them you are not only a good employer who listens to concerns but that you are also engaged with broader issues of social responsibility in the local community and beyond.
- Involve staff in fundraising or choosing your preferred business charity. Staff like to be an integral part of your business and feel valued when they are actively involved in your business initiatives. When staff feel like they can influence decisions they tend to be more productive and innovative.
- Make customers aware of your efforts to be a socially aware business. Consumers are influenced in their purchasing decisions by a company’s association with a cause. According to research, 92 percent of Australians believe that a great brand comes from a company with values and ethics. There are clear benefits for businesses supporting a worthy cause in terms of consumers’ positive perceptions of their brand, and the very real likelihood that this leads to greater customer loyalty.
- Choose a cause that ‘fits’ your business. There are many causes that you could choose to support, but that doesn’t mean they’re all right for you. Do some research and find a charity or cause that relates as closely as possible to your business and what you do – customers and staff will more easily see the relevance and are more likely to trust your brand.
Meg Hamilton is the Corporate Relations Manager for Plan International Australia (www.plan.org.au)