Guest Post by Maggie Potter
Some seasons like the time around Thanksgiving and Christmas encourage more charitable giving than others. However, as a business, giving isn’t something that should be only seasonal. In fact, an increasing number of organizations are realizing that giving can be one of many keys to success. Business giants like Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Chevron are evidence of this, as they spend hundreds of millions on charitable giving annually.
While one of the core purposes of every business is to make a profit, there is always room for giving, too. In many ways, it could help boost your finances as well as improve your brand image. If you’re a business that hasn’t started giving or feels more can be done, keep reading. Here is how the art of giving can help you financially.
As a business, you should have an idea of the role your business will play in improving the community and the world around you. What legacy do you want your business to leave and what difference do you want to make? Charitable giving can help you materialize this goal as it’s an opportunity to help further causes that align with your mission and vision. Giving is a way to help make communities better places for people to live and work in, on top of reaping personal benefits in your business.
That said, look for a charity or cause that you’re passionate about and that aligns with your business values. You don’t want to give to just any charity, however, as some have earned notoriety for spending more on paying salaries than they do on the actual cause they claim to represent. You should do your research to ensure the ones you’re considering are transparent and have a track record of good financial management. Whether the charities are funded by billionaires or everyday people, ensure they’re reputable and have pure intentions.
You can easily access information on charities thanks to modern technology. It also makes giving to or partnering with such organizations a lot easier. If, for instance, you were interested in empowering women, you could look online for an initiative that gives female entrepreneurs more access to technology. This would be a great one to contribute to as increasing their access to technology could encourage business growth.
If you were an animal lover and found out that the supermarket you buy your groceries from helps abused and neglected pets, how would that make you feel? You may be drawn to shop there more often and might even become a loyal customer. The reality is that giving is good for your business because it can help boost your corporate image. In fact, 87 percent percent of businesses found that acts of corporate responsibility positively affected their company’s reputation, therefore inviting more customers who value being socially conscious. This goes to show that there are people out there who care about how a business functions within its community and what they give back.
How does a better image help you financially? First, it can improve the relationship you have with your customers by boosting engagement and loyalty. A 2014 Nielsen survey even found that customers are willing to pay more for products and services if the companies offering them are socially responsible and environmentally conscious. Second, it also makes your business more conspicuous as you’re likely to stand out from competitors, especially if they themselves aren’t big on giving. If you, personally, had to choose between spending your money with a charitable business and one that wasn’t, which would you be more likely to choose? Many are likely to gravitate towards a business that is charitable as their money contributes to a greater good.
Ultimately, choosing to give back as a business is a form of conscious capitalism. This means the focus is not just on profit, but also how businesses can make a positive impact on the world at large. This results in stakeholders, the community, and the environment all benefitting.
If you’re worried that your business doesn’t have enough to give away, it may be time to revisit your finances. See how your business can cut back on unnecessary spending and save money. More importantly, you should know that charitable giving can save you even more money in the long run, as it could result in tax benefits. Seeing as most small businesses end up paying almost 20 percent in taxes, it’s enough to make tax season a dreadful time of the year — however, you can lower the amount you pay by giving to charity.
Your business can deduct, cash contributions, in-kind contributions, and travel expenses incurred because you’re working for a charitable organization. Note that the 2017 tax reform law has made it so that you can’t deduct more than 60 percent of your adjusted gross income. In some instances, there could be anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent limits.
Another way that giving can help your business financially is through staff retention. Research found that 50 percent of people find it important to work with a company that shares similar values to them. If giving back happens to be one of their values, the chances of them sticking around longer could be higher. As you already likely know, a high turnover rate not only results in losing talent, but it can also be financially exorbitant. Aside from this, staff may be more engaged and productive if they connect with the positive things you’re doing for people in need and the environment.
Because culture influences charitable giving, making it a part of your business ethos could have a positive effect on all of your employees. Aside from creating a greater sense of solidarity in the workplace, being a part of a company that donates their time and resources could inspire employees to do the same.
Giving is something that should be done by every business, no matter how small. What better way to show appreciation to the people who keep your business going and the environment that makes running a business possible?
Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.
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