The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

April 18, 2013

Ask the Mompreneur: Pick the right charity for your business

Giving back. Paying it forward. Getting involved in your community.

It goes by many names, this urge to take your small business and make it do good in the world. If you’re a business owner who is thinking about partnering with a worthy cause, I applaud your altruism.

Luckily, you don’t have to have a big budget in order to have a positive impact. Options range from donating a few hours of your time to a day of company time for employees to volunteer.

In-kind donations can involve goods or services from your business and may allow you to have an even larger impact than a gift of cash.

Of course, money is always a welcome commodity, with many savvy nonprofits offering sponsorship packages tailored to their small-business supporters.

But with so many deserving organizations in every community, where do you start? If you already have an existing personal connection with a charity, you can always expand the relationship to include your business. But if you don’t currently have a strong tie, here are some approaches to try.

SUPPORT A CAUSE IN YOUR INDUSTRY: Depending on your industry, there may be some natural synergy between your business and a helping organization in the same space.

Home stager Hedy Swercheck, of HS Solutions Group in California, found a natural fit between her interior design business and Habitat for Humanity. “When I’m decluttering spaces, I arrange donations to Habitat ReStore. This keeps items out of landfills and helps a great organization.“

She has also reaped additional rewards from her hands-on involvement with the charity. “I have learned construction techniques on Habitat build sites that have helped me when I am working on client spaces,“ said Swercheck.

Along the same lines, Charlotte, N.C., real estate agent Josie Mazzaferro gives a portion from each of her closings to the YWCA’s long-term transitional housing programs. Mazzaferro said: “I also volunteer and donate to Moore Place, which houses the chronically homeless, and the Housing Opportunity Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofits that address unmet housing needs. I love saying that I work the entire continuum of Charlotte housing.“

HELP GROUPS YOUR CUSTOMERS USE: Nicole Pennell is the owner of Dogtopia, a Charlotte dog daycare facility where her customers are canines and the people who love them. Not surprisingly, Pennell and her company support animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of Charlotte, the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control. Pennell does additional outreach with auction and raffle packages for charity events.

PARTNER WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES: “Often we see our clients making selections based on what their employees are passionate about,“ said Jenni Walker, head of Charlotte-based Walker PR Group.

“Employees may have personal involvement with a charity, or it may simply be a cause near and dear to their hearts.“

One of Walker’s clients, CEO Inc., established a giving fund managed by employees. Their employees nominate and select a different organization every month to receive a portion of company profits, in addition to donations from individual employees. In 2012, the fund gave out in excess of $75,000 to a variety of nonprofits.

ALIGN TO YOUR BUSINESS GOALS: More and more, customers are looking to do business with companies that share their values, so charitable involvement can be great for business. You can satisfy your desire to make your local community a better place and at the same time market to like-minded prospects, raising awareness and visibility for your brand.

Make sure and do your homework to understand the reach of the organizations you are considering. Identify which causes have the greatest audience overlap with your business goals. For example, if you’re looking to build market share with a certain demographic, ask questions and get as much information as possible to ensure a good fit.

Most importantly, make a commitment to take the first step. The nice thing is, when it comes to selecting a charitable organization to support, there are very few wrong answers.



Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book “Ask the Mompreneur“ and the founder of the social shopping website CartCentric.com. Email her at TheJennieWonggmail.com.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

Business Video
Stocks