How to be smart with your corporate giving

October 3, 2014 | Roger and Susie Engelau

These days, companies giving back to the community is commonplace; it’s almost a business requirement in the 21st century.  In my business coaching business, I don’t have one client that’s not interested in giving back.  But be careful not to use the “shotgun approach…”  giving one $50 gift certificate to 50 different non-profits thus not really giving any of them much real help.

 

The key to really making a meaningful difference is to think strategically about how to focus your gifts.  Align with a cause or two that’s “right” for your business—one that takes into account:

1)    What your company specializes in or is really good at and

2)    What causes are most important to you as the owner.

Start by defining your WHY.  I talk about finding your WHY a lot—because it’s a fundamental aspect of defining your personal and business vision. Your WHY encompasses your values, your beliefs, what you’re passionate about in life.  It’ll help you discern which opportunities are worth your time.Targeted giving will help your company solidify its values by giving back to organizations that match those values.

Next, find organizations in your community that are aligned with your passions. For example, in my hometown of Mooresville, we have a locally-owned gym called Core Fitness. They started a non-profit program called Kicks for Kids which combats childhood obesity by donating tennis shoes to kids to encourage them to exercise.

 

I’m passionate about helping business owners succeed because I believe that strong businesses are the building blocks of strong communities. That passion has guided my wife’s and my involvement in various community causes, like the Indianapolis-based Premier Capital Corporation, an SBA lender to small businesses whose motto is “in the business of helping your business grow.”

 

My wife and I also love the arts, particularly singing, so we support Encore Vocal Arts, a non-profit community choir that partners with organizations like Little Red Door, Brooke’s Place for Grieving Children, and high school music programs in low-income neighborhoods. We’re passionate about getting teens off on the right foot so we fostered teens, support Indiana Foster and Adoption Programs, Coaches for College, and foreign exchange student programs. The leadership roles we serve in these organizations are the source of great personal satisfaction…and it’s also a wonderful source of referral business and networking for us.

 

Finally, once you’ve chosen your causes, get involved.  If you’re a restaurant or a food manufacturer and hunger is a cause you’re passionate about, host a food drive drop-off location.  Give staff members a paid day off each quarter to volunteer.  Sponsor a charitable event.  Volunteer on the board of directors of your favorite non-profit.  Donate old office equipment or make in-kind donations from unsold inventory to organizations that could use it.  You can ask to be named in their publicity, press releases, or promotional materials for an extra branding boost…or you can simply contribute what you can, knowing that these kinds of efforts always pay dividends.

 

There are so many worthy causes in the world!  But no one company, no matter how large, can support them all.  Focus on fewer organizations to make a real difference because you’ll do it well and you’ll even become known for it. One of the greatest rewards you’ll receive is the increase in satisfaction and focus that comes from putting your business’ resources to good work in the community in a way that only YOUR business can.  It’ll help you reconnect with your motivation and create positive energy around your workplace.  Best of all, you’ll know you’re making a real difference.

 

Discover your WHY, develop strategic plans and much, much more… Start with our FREE, risk-free, obligation-free Potential Discovery session. This isn’t a high-pressure sales opportunity – it really is a chance to learn and grow and make informed decisions for the success of your business. Sign up at {%URL%}/