Small and medium companies can sometimes shy away from getting involved with charitable organisations over concerns about time and other resource commitments. Linda Donaldson, director at Geometry PR, looks at five reasons it makes good business sense to support charity, as well as being a personally rewarding experience.
On the June 8 2013, I and around 40 other business people took nine days leave from our day jobs to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End in aid of the Bath Rugby Foundation. The event took a sizeable chunk out of my busy work schedule, but it was a huge personal achievement to pedal the 1,000 mile route and support a worthy cause; it was also good for my business.
In the cut and thrust of daily business life, the idea of devoting time and resources to charity can seem impractical. But it can be time well spent, if you select your preferred charity wisely. As well as creating a ‘feel good’ factor for yourself, supporting a charity that you feel strongly about can lead to a range of knock-on benefits for your business, creating a win-win scenario all around. Here are five reasons why:
- The opportunity to give back to your community and become more involved. Getting involved in your local community is a great business strategy for many reasons. As you get to know others and work with others for a cause that you believe in, you will have fun and become part of the group. This can help you with marketing your business in many ways—you will get to know the needs of the community and be able to find ways to meet them. It’s hard to buy that kind of market research anywhere and the business benefits of networking beyond your usual circle can be huge.
- Community support and good will. Being part of a community is vital for a small business. In the days of mega stores and the internet, it can be difficult to sustain a small business, depending on your sector. One way to ensure that your business thrives in your community – and distinguish your business’ voice – is to become one of the ties that hold the community together.
- Marketing opportunities. Whether you donate money, time, products or your professional services, charity and non-profit groups will usually have some sort of recognition programme. Having your business name included is good promotion. People are more apt to support businesses which they feel share their interests and concerns about the world.
- The opportunity to support causes you believe in. It is great if you can tie your business purpose to a particular charity but if you cannot, you can pick a charity or community group that you are passionate about and support them. Participating in fundraising events can also become valuable team building exercises for your staff.
- Cost-effectiveness. Many non-profit making organisations, particularly those at the local level, require time and services rather than hard cash. Contact the group you would like to help and ask them if there are volunteer opportunities available, or if they can make use of the specific product of service you offer.
Geometry PR has supported the Bath Rugby Foundation since we launched 14 years ago. The Foundation aims to enhance the lives of young people through sport, with a particular focus on those with social and other disadvantages. As a life-long rugby fan who’s always believed that sport is a force for good in people’s lives, the Foundation felt like a natural cause for the company to support. Cycling the length of Britain will be the most extreme show of support we’ve so far lent; the culmination to date of a long, fulfilling relationship that has paid dividends all round.
To sponsor Linda’s fundraising effort for Bath Rugby Foundation, please visit www. virginmoneygiving.com/linda donaldson1.
Follow Linda’s training preparations via her blog at www.thisisbath.co.uk