Most businesses, both large and small, want to generate the most profit possible. But in order to gain, sometimes you have to give. Partnering with a charity or non-profit organization is a smart marketing strategy to grow your business. Even if your marketing campaign involves donating a portion of sales to the partner charity, your business will surely benefit.
Charitable marketing not only builds goodwill for your business and establishes positive associations for your brand, it’s also a great way to gain exposure for your business. By leveraging the audience and trading on the recognition of the charity, you’ll broaden your reach. You’ll also increase traffic to your website and place of business as your promote the charitable activities on social media, and through email marketing and press releases.
When people know certain businesses share their values and support a cause that means something to them, they will often choose to support those companies. According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, 89% of U.S. consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.
Some people will even pay more for products and services that support a cause they care about. According to the Nielsen 2013 Consumers Who Care Study, 50% of global consumers said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services (44% in the U.S. and 38% in Canada).
Lifestyle brand Alex and Ani has established a great charitable campaign, Charity By Design, to sell charm bangles supporting different causes. They work with non-profit organizations on an international, national, and local level to support causes by building brand awareness. Charity By Design supports philanthropy in many ways, from donations and in-store events to the creation of symbolic, creative designs. On their website you can either shop by charity or bracelet. Twenty percent of each charm bangle’s purchase price goes directly to whatever charity it’s associated with.
After four years of giving back through Charity By Design, Alex and Ani has donated 20 million dollars to the thousands of charities. The considerable amount of money they’ve been able to raise proves just how much people care about giving to the charities they care about.
Now that we’ve encouraged you to partner with a charity that supports a meaningful cause, how do you know which one would make good partner? From a business standpoint, here are five qualities good partner charities possess:
1. THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND VICE VERSA
Similar to a marriage or friendship, if your business and your partner charity don’t value each other’s work, then the relationship just isn’t right. It’s important that your business supports the charity’s mission, and also that the charity cares about your product/services and employees.
Our client Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts and the non-profit United States War Dogs Association have an outstanding partnership because they both value each other’s work tremendously. Purr’n Pooch chose to partner with this organization because they support their mission to educate the public on the history of military war dogs, honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives, and assist the military dogs and handlers in need today. The United States War Dogs Association appreciates all the work the business does through the Purr’n Pooch Foundation for Animals.
Throughout the holiday season, Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts collects donations for U.S. Military Working Dog Teams who have been deployed to the Middle East. They also host a volunteer day to write letters to the military dog handlers overseas and prepare packages for shipment. Former and current U.S. military dog handlers join them for the day to give presentations and assist the volunteers. The event is covered by many media and attracts all ages from around New Jersey, bringing attention to both Purr’n Pooch and the United States War Dogs Association.
2. THEY ARE FINANCIALLY STABLE
Trust is key with any kind of partnership. With a partner charity, you want to be able to trust that it is financially stable, meaning that it is able to stay out of debt and fund its current programs. You also want to make sure the organization isn’t hoarding money. A charity that hoards rather than spends the donations it receives is not operating in line with the goals of most donors.
Rather than just taking their word for it, refer to the charity’s IRS tax Form 990 to see financial statements. If you aren’t comfortable reviewing financial statements, there is an alternative way to find out if a charity is in financial trouble. Check the “Independent Auditor’s Report” (IAR) to see if the charity has a “Going Concern” audit. If so, this means the outside accountants who audited the charity believe the organization may not be able to continue its operations for more than one year due to the charity’s debts and other factors.
3. THEY ARE INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
When your partner charity is involved with the local community or multiple communities, your business will be able to directly reach those community members, broadening your exposure.
inBLOOM works with the non-profit EarthShare New Jersey (ESNJ), which is greatly involved with communities and environmental causes throughout New Jersey. ESNJ supports the work of both statewide and national non-profit organizations as well, and many businesses partner with the charity because they appreciate the organization’s community involvement.
4. THEY HAVE A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE
A strong online presence will allow you and your partner charity organization to both further broadcast your relationship. Check to see if they maintain a well-designed website, blog and social media accounts.
Just like with a business, having a good website is extremely important for any non-profit or charitable organization. The organization’s website should be informational, updated frequently and include a portal for online giving that is supported on mobile devices. The organization should also be blogging often.
Social networks provide a central place for charitable organizations to connect with donors and the media. Frequently posting, conversing, maintaining relationships and building new ones on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ are all signs that the organization values lasting connections.
5. THEY ARE MEDIA SAVVY
It’s a great sign if you see a lot of news about an organization in newspapers, magazines on the radio and TV because it means they have a good relationship with the media. There are many things a charity might like to inform the media about, including major donations, new projects, and partnerships.
Keeping the media up-to-date with what’s going on is essential to the charity because it can help promote its work, which in turn brings in donations and ultimately allows the charity to continue its mission. Your business will also benefit if the news is about your partnership and goodwill.
If you need advice on whether or not a certain charity would make a good partner for your business, or you need guidance on how to go about searching for a partner charity, feel free to comment on this post or contact us. We’d be glad to help set you on the right track.
photo by gfpeck