Guest post by Dylan Berger.
Does your company engage in charitable giving? Being a charitable B2B company can benefit your brand, your customers, partners, and most importantly, your community. Local businesses have a better grasp of the needs of people in their area than larger nonprofits.
Whether this is your first time giving or you’ve already made a difference, there are several ways to engage in charitable giving. First, it’s essential to understand why it’s necessary for B2B businesses to give back. By understanding the purpose of corporate giving, you can build a desire to impact the surrounding community or world positively.
The Benefits of Corporate Giving
The trend for giving among B2C is nothing new, but for B2B companies, it’s growing. For many marketing leaders and professionals, giving back is the right thing to do. However, there’s nothing wrong with looking at how philanthropy grows your brand image.
B2B businesses that donate to charity open their business to marketing, employee engagement, and branding opportunities. Of course, there are tax benefits and the overall goodwill you and your employees will feel.
Many business leaders may find that donating to charity means providing a monetary donation. Donating your time and effort is a sound choice for improving brand image. Donating time means employees can get involved with volunteering or offering free services. Companies give them so many hours a year to volunteer for causes they believe in.
Other organizations choose a volunteer day and send everyone to help a local nonprofit by painting, serving food or sorting donated items.
Six Charitable Giving Ideas for B2B Companies
Here are some examples of how B2B companies can start giving back today.
1. Promote email marketing for donations.
Kforce, a professional staffing agency specializing in technology and finance, is one example of a brand that focuses on corporate social responsibility.
When Hurricane Irma struck southern Florida and the Bahamas in 2017, Kforce felt compelled to give back to their communities. The company is based in Tampa and has other offices around Florida, so their donation efforts hit close personally.
Kforce used an email signature banner that promoted the company’s Hurricane Irma relief efforts and encouraged users to click to make donations to hurricane relief. As a result, the campaign received thousands of clicks and generated several thousand dollars supporting the Red Cross.
In addition, the company donated $1 million for ongoing support and relief for recovery efforts. By enlisting the help of customers and employees, they made a noticeable impact toward something benefiting their local community.
2. Feed the hungry at a local food drive.
RefiJet, an auto loan refinancing company, makes charitable efforts by having its employees participate in a campaign to feed at least 1,000 families for the whole month.
The company partnered with Project Our Town, and 90 employees served the community by packaging soup for donation. During its first community outreach, RefiJet established the Culture Club organization.
The company donated three hours of their time and packaged 4,500 pounds of beans, which led to 36,000 servings of bean soup. Enabling staff to help feed the local community is one example of an excellent team-building activity, too.
3. Reduce and reuse.
Many businesses try to give back to the planet by reducing their carbon footprint. The average vehicle releases 0.79 pounds of carbon dioxide for each mile. One idea is to encourage your team to ride an electric bike to work or carpool.
However, there are plenty of other ways for B2B companies to get involved in saving the planet for future generations. Carhartt, a workwear clothing company, is doing its part by keeping its products out of landfills. The company introduced The Renewal Workshop, which refurbishes imperfect gear and gives it back to job sites.
B2B companies can participate in give-back programs by funding projects like this and reducing waste to help the environment.
An even more powerful idea is for a business to recycle its old products. Many consumers and business users (ultimately the same people, after all) hate to simply throw away technology products and consumables (such as ink jet cartridges) that have reached their end of life.
Designing products for recycling and giving users an easy way to return them (perhaps even offering a discount on your newest model) is great for your brand image, the environment, and ultimately your bottom line.
4. Use profanity to drive charitable donations.
Randy Frisch, CEO of Uberflip, decided to use a swear jar at his company’s annual event. While on stage, Frisch promoted his recent book while he slipped money into it throughout his presentation.
He also encouraged other speakers to add money into the jar during their presentations. In addition, he noted that the company would donate all collected funds to The Hospital for Sick Children. The company raised $1,000 throughout the tour and $100,000 more through other efforts.
5. Partner with suppliers.
Baka Communications, a wireless solutions provider, partnered with Fresh City Farms to donate land for housing 4,000-square-foot greenhouses and field crops. Baka has been committed to integrating sustainable practices into its business model for years.
The company’s efforts resulted in grown produce available to 1,000 Fresh City members and Baka Gallery Cafe kitchen.
Each year, the effort produces an estimated 20,000 pounds of locally grown, organic produce, providing 75% less CO2 emissions than traditional food sources. Baka Communications showed it cares about the health and well-being of its customers and those who live in their area.
6. Combine corporate social responsibility (CSR) with team building.
Team building activities provide multiple benefits, such as improving communication and collaboration, increasing employee engagement, and boosting morale. When combined with CSR, team building increases employee loyalty by packing a powerful emotional impact.
As noted above, packaging donations to a local food shelf is one way to combine philanthropy with team building. But there are many other options. Team building program provider Best Corporate Events facilitates CSR activities such as assembling wheelchairs for donations to the disabled or bicycles for disadvantaged kids, or packing backpacks with school supplies.
Make a Plan
Align giving with your company objectives. What do you hope to accomplish? Your goals should include how you’ll help others and how the program benefits your brand. For example, your company might receive free, positive publicity thanks to a toy drive for underprivileged children.
A well-planned charitable giving strategy benefits your company with positive press and the charity with tangible and intangible benefits, such as funding and physical labor. Embrace the causes you care most about to feel passionate about your efforts.