Many business owners don’t allocate the time or financial resources to undertake local community outreach and charitable projects. Here are some of the reasons that a corporate-wide program to support local projects and nonprofits should be considered a priority in your business plan.
• You’ve been blessed and rewarded. Just by being born, living or operating in the United States, you have untold advantages in life and education that others don’t have. Let’s preserve all that is good about this country for future generations. It won’t happen only by government programs.
• You are financially successful and have “enough.” OK, even if you don’t really have “enough” and are still motivated to build more, expand and grow your net worth, you may reach a point where you can say, “We’ve done well and are in good shape financially,” especially if you create a financial plan with projected assets and income.
• I can’t promise this to all readers, but I’ve found that as I’ve made charitable gifts and gotten involved, good things happened to my business—and my finances. I think there is a correlation between generosity and good results. I can’t guarantee it, but take a leap of faith and try it. Don’t give to receive, but give because you want to, and remember that giving your time is just as important as your resources.
• Today’s customers and future employees are looking for companies with a conscience. Many companies donate products based on sales multiples (Toms shoes, for example). Some companies will match employees’ charitable donations. Other companies support companywide days out of the office to volunteer to help those in need. If your firm does these projects, include it on your website so that interested customers and parties know more about your culture as they evaluate you. People usually don’t change jobs for an extra $100 a pay period but rather for a better work culture and environment.
• Name recognition. By being visible in the community, you are planting the seeds for future growth. It’s another form of low-cost advertising, as reaching your prospects is always a challenging task. Focus on projects that you not only enjoy but that could bring you in contact with future customers.
• And finally—the tax benefits, which are worthy of a future article about how charitable planning provides income and estate tax advantages.
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