When many people think of corporate philanthropy, they think of massive enterprises throwing money at charitable organizations for the sole purpose of good publicity or tax benefits. But the majority of businesses are genuine and well-intentioned in their philanthropic endeavors.
Despite being referred to as “corporate” philanthropy, this term refers to the charitable efforts made by businesses of all shapes and sizes, not just the megacorporations that may come to mind. In reality, this philanthropy can appear in many different forms with some businesses making direct monetary donations, while others supply necessary resources or volunteer work.
Corporate Philanthropy as a Competitive Advantage
Corporate philanthropy functions as an effective competitive advantage and marketing strength. When all other points of differentiation are moot, elements like corporate philanthropy and social responsibility can help tip the scales. For example, if a consumer is looking for a new jacket and has to choose between two nearly identical products, they will often choose the brand with a positive, philanthropic background. Because of this, people are often skeptical of the intentions behind this charitable giving.
The Importance of Authenticity in Corporate Philanthropy
Above all else, authenticity is vital to successful corporate philanthropy. It’s crucial for business owners to put careful thought into the ways in which they give back. When it becomes clear that an enterprise is using corporate philanthropy as a ticket to good publicity or tax benefits, it often leaves a sour taste in consumers’ mouths, often causing bad publicity and the permanent loss of customers.
While corporate philanthropy can be a powerful tool in marketing, it only works if the intentions behind the charitable giving are genuine. When efforts are not genuine, it shows and often backfires. Business owners should aim to align their philanthropic endeavors with the mission and core values of their business. Additionally, choosing a cause that employees or stakeholders value can improve company culture and increase the personal connection between the philanthropic activity and your business. Not only does choosing a well-aligned cause ensure genuine passion and intentions but it also simultaneously strengthens and reinforces your brand’s core values and messaging to your audience.
Best Practices for Promoting Your Philanthropic Endeavors
When it comes to promoting corporate philanthropy, it’s important to tread carefully and stay modest. While charitable giving is an incredibly generous act, and you may be excited to share your involvement, it’s easy for intentions to be misunderstood. As mentioned, because of its strength as a competitive advantage, it can be easy for the public to misread genuine corporate philanthropy as being ill-intentioned. To avoid this skepticism, it’s important for businesses to make honest and genuine charitable efforts that align with their business mission.
80% of businesses support a charitable cause.
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