Brand reputation is something that every business, no matter how large or small they may be, is looking to improve on a regular basis. It’s something that can become a potential customer’s deciding factor on where they go shopping or where they buy a certain product. Building a strong brand reputation, however, can be difficult to do in a way that feels natural and doesn’t break the bank. Small business owners can’t afford to drop a ton of money into paid advertising or a team of community managers, after all.
That’s where charities and social good initiatives come in. Incorporating charitable donations or adjusting parts of your daily operations to support a cause can go a long way, both with your employees and your customers. Millennials, which represent almost $2.5 trillion in spending dollars, are always looking for companies that incorporate social good, whether that’s through donating money or making efforts to alter operations for the better of society.
Getting Started with Charity
If donating to charity is something you’re interested in adding to your business model, picking a charity you want to support is the first step. Setting up your business with the right kind of charity can be just as important as actually collecting donations. While safe choices like the American Red Cross or UNICEF are great organizations, charities that hit a little closer to home will connect more naturally with your business in the long term. If you’re looking for someplace to donate to on a regular basis, an organization that’s centered around something that’s important to you or your business is a great choice.
If you sell pet products, try collecting donations for the local animal shelter or rescue and rehabilitation organizations. If your business sells food or beverages, you can accept donations for a soup kitchen or holding a food drive once a quarter for the local food bank. If you sell hair or skin products, work with a local cosmetology or esthetician school to create a scholarship program.
Once you’ve picked a charity, you need to start actually collecting donations. Whether you simply put out a donation cup for consumers to contribute to or pledge to dedicate a certain percentage of sales to your charity of choice, the most important part of implementing your new charitable initiative is making sure customers know about it. Train your employees to mention the donation bucket, or post updates on social media letting shoppers know that you’ll be donating a percentage to charity.
Adjusting Your Operations
Making monetary donations isn’t the only option to help boost your brand reputation. Making small but noticeable tweeks to the way your business operates day to day can be just as effective. Add recycling bins next to all your trash cans or start only printing receipts upon request. If your point of sale allows it, ask customers if they’d like to have their receipt emailed instead of printed.
Looking for ways to give back to the community is also a great way to get your business socially involved. Offer a couple hours of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to your employees every one or two months, encouraging them to participate in work-sponsored volunteer activities. This could mean three or four employees spend an extended lunch together helping out at the local soup kitchen or half of your staff gather on a Sunday to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Cone Communications found that 74% of employees find their job more fulfilling when they’re given the opportunity to make a positive impact at work. Working together also helps build bonds between employees, helping boost morale.
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No matter what direction you decide is best for your company, any little bit you can give back to the community is, unquestionably, social good. Starting out small and steadily growing your business’ philanthropic endeavors over time is the best way to ensure your new initiatives stay in place for the long haul. Soon enough, you’ll definitely notice the impact your efforts have made.