At Briggs Communications, one of the key recommendations we often make to clients is to build their goodwill bank. Your goodwill bank is the foundation of your reputation, based on a number of factors including your presence in the community, ethical business practices, treatment of staff and charitable endeavours.
Having a strong goodwill bank can make or break an organisation during a crisis. If an organisation’s goodwill bank is strong, a negative event seems like an anomaly. If it is weak however, negative events such as a crisis or emergency have the potential to seriously tarnish an organisation’s business.
Philanthropy is one of the fundamentals of a goodwill bank and one all businesses should participate in. But with countless great causes, how do you decide when to help out and when to decline?
There are a number of things to consider:
What can you offer? While multi-million dollar corporations can make large financial donations, this isn’t feasible for small businesses. That shouldn’t be a deterrent though as time, resources and services are just as valuable. Think about what you and your staff can offer. This might mean an accounting firm offering its services pro bono to a small not-for-profit, a restaurant lending it’s space for a fundraiser or a small team taking a day away from work to do some volunteering instead.
What ties in with your vision and values? Don’t pick a cause randomly – consider what ties in with the purpose and values of your organisation. The hardware store chain Bunnings, for example, frequently supports projects such as community garden makeovers and building playgrounds (in addition to hosting Australia’s favourite sausage sizzle). Their work in the community is reflective of their business model.
What do you know about a cause or organisation? Unfortunately, not all not-for-profit organisations are reputable. For this reason, we encourage organisations to select a few respected organisations to give their assistance to. While the vast majority of not-for-profits are positive, there are a few that have proven to be fraudulent or irresponsible. Organisations like The Difference offer charity assessments to ensure you are picking a responsible organisaiton.
Just as your corporate partners and employees say a lot about your organisation, the causes you choose also have a major impact on your reputation. By supporting a particular organisation, you are endorsing its reputability. Because of this, you should use the same level of diligence in vetting an organisation as you do a partner or your staff.
We are firm believers that those who can give, should. The best way to ensure you are making a difference though is to do your research and ensure this is part of your strategic plan. Not only does this allow you to ensure your not-for-profit work aligns with your organisation, but it also allows you to plan ahead and ensure your time, resources and funds are being allocated in a way that is generous while still being viable for the business.
Of course, there are exceptions and planning ahead won’t always be possible. Natural disasters, community tragedies and humanitarian crises cannot be planned for and sometimes your conscious is more important than your strategic plan. These guidelines are just those – a blueprint for your giving that you can work to.
If you’re interested in how you can develop a partnership with a charitable cause that aligns with your organisation, call Briggs Communications for more information.
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