We all learn at some point or another that giving is a good thing. For us as individuals, it feels good, and it also does good for others. When it comes to our business, do we subscribe to the same level of giving? Is charity on our list? Or do we view business and charity as incongruent concepts?
Research has shown that a growing number of younger persons prefer to support companies or brands that give back to society. I would never forget the first time I was introduced to Pret A Manger and the fact that they never store food – so that all their food is fresh; but even better – they give all food that was not sold at the end of each day to the homeless! Where do you think I ate every day for seven days after that? You guessed it!
Charity doesn’t have to always mean a cheque to an entity with poses and forced camera smiles. Good brands find very creative ways of supporting causes. Take the example of AutoNation in the United States. Intermittently popping up in their ads is a lady wearing a pink jacket. The plates on their cars for sale in the ads are pink. The message? “We support a cure for breast cancer.” Then there is Capital Media HD 99.3 in Barbados, which launched their “Capital Kids’ Trust” which invites listeners to send in details of children in need of assistance. The efforts and causes are varied; and there is no shortage of those needing help.
When it comes to team building and staff morale, supporting a charity or cause can bring persons closer together. Think of it: committees are formed, and this helps employees feel more fulfilled, more recognized and more important. When teams have to work together on not simply hitting deadlines or targets, but perhaps painting a school or doing a fun walk for charity, there is no doubt that there is a feeling of connection amongst members of the company.
Whether people like it or not, giving certainly puts your name out into the market. The more an event or cause is advertised, the more your brand gets exposure if you are a heavy supporter. In fact, you may take the dual approach of supporting a cause that is aligned with your brand in order to associate your brand with both cause and product. For example, in Barbados energy drink Kola Kick sponsors sports across the island. That’s a natural fit when it comes to the product association; and sport is a very good thing for development of bodies and communities.
So, while we may make donations as individuals, if each business were to support a charity, think about the huge positive difference we can make in this world. Tax breaks are sometimes available in various countries when businesses give, but also think about your team, the persons who will benefit directly from your charity, and making this place simply better.
(Veoma Ali is an advertising executive with a Ph.D in Communication and Master’s in