I was watching House of Cards the other day (which is an excellent show, by the way). There's a character in the show named Remy, who's in charge of managing the assets of a multi-billion dollar company. He was trying to donate $1.5 million of the company's money to a charity. Why? Because donating that much money to a charity would do wonders for public relations. You really can't underestimate the value of a good relationship with the public. It doesn't matter how good your product is. If people loathe your company, then they will go out of their way to shop at one of your competitors. Likewise, a company that maintains an excellent public image will earn the adoration of shoppers and ultimately lead to a boost in business. Think of donations to charities as a marketing investment. You spend big bucks on billboards, commercials, and radio airtime, so why not consider cutting a check to a charity? Not only will it go towards a good purpose, but it will also score you some major brownie points with the public. Also, unlike billboards, donations are tax deductible! Image source: Blog.gogated.com
If you're thinking about getting involved with a charity, then I highly recommend that you do more than simply send a check in the mail. Charities will be thrilled that you're giving them money, and many charities will be more than willing to work with your company to help promote your business. For example, if the charity organization needs custom uniforms, then you might be able to supply the charity with free clothing as long as they allow you to add your logo. That's similar to how sports sponsorships work -- teams get free jerseys, and companies get willing participants who will spread the word. This strategy works particularly well with charities that take an active role in the community. The more visible a charity is, the more likely it is that consumers will have an opportunity to see your logo. That's why charity races and walks are so incredibly popular among sponsoring companies. It's hard to match the marketing power of several thousand people wearing your company logo as they charge through the center of town, with cheering crowds and camera crews watching the event. Image source: Lancasteronline.com
Another great tactic is to select charities that mirror your business. If you run a water bottling facility, donate to an organization that promotes clean drinking water for impoverished countries. If your business primarily appeals to female shoppers, then you might want to think about donating to a breast cancer research charity. In any event, don't underestimate the marketing power of charitable donations. Writing a check might set you back a bit, but the investment will more than pay itself off with incredible PR and endless marketing opportunities.