Talking About Your Company’s Philanthropy
Your company does good in the world. And you deserve — and need — to make sure people know about it. You might think there’s no way to promote your philanthropic efforts without coming off as pompous and self-centered, but that’s not true!
It should be a no-brainer and not a feeling of guilt that doing good is not just good for the world, but also good for your business. Giving back to nonprofits and charities, or other people, projects, events, companies, or institutions doing good in the world — or starting your own organization to support a cause you believe in — automatically gives your business positive publicity, putting your name out there as a company that cares about more than just themselves, who are actively working to better their fellow human. In addition, it heightens your public profile and gives you something else to talk about besides your products and services themselves. One sector of businesses that have been doing particularly good at this are outdoor-gear retailers such as Patagonia, who donated all 10 million of their 2016 Black Friday sales to environmental groups working to protect natural resources.
And besides, a recent Forbes article found, many people, especially Millennials, are becoming increasingly incentivized to shop with companies who not only provide them with quality products and friendly and efficient service — but also those which share their values and support the same issues and causes they do.
You can show your do-gooder spirit in a variety of ways, by donating money, time, service or other resources to your cause of choice. The trickier part, however, can be in figuring how to talk about all the awesome stuff you’ve done as a company and showing what you’ve achieved to the rest of the world. How do you demonstrate what you’ve contributed without sounding braggy, pompous, or inauthentic? Good question! It’s essential to convey that you actually care about the people, issues, and ideals you claim to support — without making people feel like you’re showing off.
Fortunately, we’ve got a few ideas on just how to accomplish this.
A good place to start is by not just taking actions to help a particular group of people or entity, but actually working with them to achieve a common goal. Anyone can pose for a picture with a charity director holding a giant check, but the companies that take the time to get into the trenches and work shoulder to shoulder with these charities and the groups they benefit will come on top. Not only does it help to show the non profit, the community and the beneficiaries, but it helps to show your employees that you are willing to give your time and energy toward LITERALLY making a difference!
One way to do this is to work directly with the organization, company, and/or the community you’re supporting. This way, you are collaborating with others that share your values and vision and achieve something valuable — both financially and ethically — while not making it “all about you.” For example, you might do outreach on behalf of the charity you are promoting. You could share posts from them on your own social media pages, or have your employees participate in an event that raises money directly for that organization, like we did for Climb To Conquer Cancer and Paws and Claus.
Another helpful tactic is to, when writing or talking about your philanthropy, make sure to put focus on the work being done and the good being achieved, not you or your company. The approach should be “Look at all the amazing things that will or have been accomplished as a result of this event/money/community service we provided…”, not “Look at all the amazing things we did because we’re so amazing.”
We also advise that you try not to be the loudest voice in the room, so to speak. Give others the opportunity to speak about their cause, the passion and those that work for these non-profits, day in and day out. Create a hashtag that customers, employees, influencers, reporters, and others can use to spread the word over social media. Give media outlets press releases that focus on the cause and the organization and how your business is helping to support their efforts.
Finally, make it habit. if you continue to show your loyalty to the same causes, issues, and organizations over and over again, the public will be more likely to find you genuine and trustworthy, as well give you the opportunity to continue earning their respect and admiration. Prove to them that this isn’t just a one time thing — you’re in this for the long haul, because you really believe in what you’re doing and in the people and ideas you’ve advocated for.