The saying goes that charity begins at home. In our case that is quite true, and we aren’t embarrassed to admit it.
Terms like ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and ‘Philanthropy’ are used frequently in the corporate world, and with good cause, but what good does it really do by aligning yourself to a charity?
We think that it does an incredibly good thing for a business but must be done in the right way. There is zero point in donating money to charity or community projects which don’t have a link to your business goals. You may as well burn your money straight from your pocket.
The work we do through our ‘philanthropic’ time is devoted to causes that help us build good relationships with our business clients, give us a good moral compass and help us advance our business objectives. Yours should be too.
With the majority of our clients being involved with the defence industry, we focus all our charitable time and resources on defence related projects. It just makes sense.
You may have seen from our charity page that we are have signed a pledge to support the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity as our charity of the year. And even better we have made this commitment to the Naval Service Charity in the year they celebrate their tenth anniversary, happy birthday guys!
If you are a business with a budget earmarked each year to give to good causes don’t just wait for charities to come knocking at your door. Long gone are the days when you give money to the first thing that lands on your desk. It might make yourself feel good temporarily, but it’s like a shot of caffeine, it just provides a temporary high and wears off quickly.
One of the questions business leaders ask us is how do we say no to such good causes? We get it, it’s hard even with a policy or framework to assess each request. Without one it is near on impossible.
You wouldn’t buy a car without checking if it’s going to suit your requirements so why would you agree to support a cause which doesn’t meet any criteria?
Just by asking a few questions like, does this request have a link to my industry? Will it help me make relationships with the right people to positively influence my business? Will the donation be sustainable? Can I justify the expense? And most importantly what is in it for me?
Do not be scared to ask this last question as it is so important. If you get nothing back for your donation/time again you may as well be burning your money. Donations of time or resources should get something in return. This could be branding, an opportunity to engage wider networks or attend events. It’s not something you should be ashamed of.
And we realise that all of this makes for hard reading if you are one of these community groups wanting money or volunteers but actually it makes perfect sense for you too. If you spend hours sending out letters asking for donations and networking to make relationships, make sure it is targeted. If you get in touch with the types of organisations that are most likely to want to associate with your organisation you will make the most of your opportunity to make a first impression and convert a contact into cash!
We’ve worked on over £250,000 worth of client projects linked to charity, employee engagement, organisational culture and business ethics. If you need help to target the right relationships or devise a policy for making decisions on what to support we have just the right person to talk to.