WHY SMALL BUSINESSES SHOULD CONSIDER CHARITABLE PARTNERSHIPS AND HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
As a small business it’s important to create connections and support something beyond your company. Although may seem unrealistic or counterintuitive to partner with a charitable organization, such partnerships can be a great way to get your brand out there while strengthening your company’s ethos and community connections. There’s a reason why the Big Guys are doing it! Here are 4 reasons why your small business should consider aligning with a non-profit, cause or charitable organization and 4 ways to make it happen.
WHY: SALES AND THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MOVEMENT
In the last few years we’ve seen a clear consumer shift toward social responsibility and authenticity in purchasing. Customers are shopping for a social value as well as a monetary one, and they’re willing to pay for it. Driven by millennials, this shift is the number one reason why we’re seeing more business-charity partnerships, and perhaps the most compelling reason to create charitable partnerships for your small business.
As a small business owner, you know the value of community support. What causes are important to you? What do you want to support?
MAKE IT HAPPEN: BRAND ALIGNMENT.
Partnering with a non-profit, cause or charitable organization that is close to your heart and aligned with your brand’s ethos is vital. The organization you choose to support will speak volumes about your business and its values. Look at local causes and charities for the most visible partnerships, and involve your team in the decision, if possible. Think about how your customers will perceive the social value offered by the partnership you choose, and how it reflects upon your company. This is an opportunity to hone in on your target market and learn more about what they value. On an ethics note, be as clear as possible with customers as to how their purchases will benefit your charitable partner, and don’t commit to more than you can deliver. A true, authentic, co-beneficial and aligned partnership will help your business gain sales, credibility and customer loyalty.
WHY: LIFTING EACH OTHER UP.
Many charitable organizations like to show a little appreciation for their partners. For instance, they might want to feature you at an event, or on their web presence. Make it work for both of you! Partnering with a charitable organization connects your business with them, furthering awareness for both parties. Charitable organizations often have extensive networks of members, donors, supporters and followers. Explore who is already connected to the your partner organization, find out where there are opportunities for co-promotion and co-production. Share each other up! Connecting with a charitable network and leveraging their infrastructure is great way for small businesses to gain brand awareness and boost marketing efforts.
MAKE IT HAPPEN: TELL THE WORLD.
Let your audience know about your partnership. Once you’ve chosen an organization that aligns with your brand, tell everyone! Share your partnership through all of your avenues, and ask your charitable organization to do the same. The more you co-share, the more visibility each of you gains. Look at how other companies are promoting their charitable connections, and learn from what works. Splash each other on social media, co-advertise, put a badge or a link on your websites and blogs, run an event together, create a line that donates a percentage to the charity and promote it together —make the most of your partnership!
As mentioned above, charities, causes and community organizations often have extensive networks, and charitable events offer a great networking opportunity. Make connections! Attend functions and fundraisers, volunteer with the organization when possible, and be sure to introduce yourself and your business. Stay in touch with these new contacts and offer to include them in your small business communications. They could be your next big customer!
MAKING IT HAPPEN: THE SMALL BIZ HUSTLE.
When you meet new contacts in the world of charitable networking, be sure to ask questions and exchange contact information. Find out what people in the sphere of your partner organization are up to, what they like, what their skills are and if they’d be interested in connecting with your business. You already have one value in common, maybe you have more to discuss? You can even offer discounts to parties connected with your cause, giving them incentive to connect with your business again. A charitable partner gives small businesses access to a whole new pool of potential business partners and potential customers.
WHY: HELPING OTHERS, SUPPORTING GOOD WORK AND CONNECTING WITH YOUR VALUES.
Ultimately, the best reason to partner with a charitable organization is to support what they’re up to and help to make the world a better place. Small business is often quite personal, and connecting your story with an organization doing good work is a powerful thing. Whether you donate money, time, resources, a portion of sales or something else, your connection to the organization you choose is something valuable beyond monetary measure. When your small business dream supports your values, that is pure magic.
MAKING IT HAPPEN: WHAT CAN YOU GIVE?
There are lots of ways to get involved with charitable organizations, and choosing the right contribution for your business is essential. Think about how your small business can contribute and what you have to offer. Time? Money? Publicity? Skills? Creativity? Here are some ideas:
- Create a product or service specifically to support your cause. Send all or a percentage of sales from that product to your charity, or allow customers to choose what their purchase supports.
- Sponsor or volunteer at an event to support your charitable partner.
- Use your skills and share resources! Help to market your partnership, create a product, create signage, plan an event, gather donations—use what your small business does best to benefit your cause.
- Volunteer your time.
There are lots of ways to contribute to charitable organizations, and knowing what you have to offer is important when choosing a partnership.
In conclusion, small business has a lot to offer and a lot to gain when it comes to charitable partnerships. Do you research, decide what you can offer, and don’t be afraid to change things up. Connecting with a charitable organization could be the next step in unlocking your small business’s full potential!
*Please note: It is important to seek professional legal guidance when creating a charitable partnership to ensure your business understands and is following the law.*