Monday, July 20, 2009

Give a Little, Get a Lot: Why Giving Is Good For Business and Patriotic

In an article by Toby Brink, the president and CEO of the Tri-Valley Business Council, suggests that giving back to the community is an act of patriotism. In his article; "My Word: Focus on triple bottom line is good business" for, he cites the statistic that there are 17,000 businesses in Tri-Valley, an area on the east bay of San Francisco, composed of small communities like Livermore, Pleasanton and others-and that statistic does not even include the bigger cities like Oakland, San Jose, or San Francisco. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the giving power of the business community to help out the desperate local charities.

Toby Brink also asks the question: “ Is giving good for business?” As one reads on, it’s obvious that he very much thinks so.

There are thousands of businesses within thousands of communities across this country that can help support their local communities by giving back. By making them aware that not only is it patriotic, but good business, this can can really change the picture for non-profits.

My recent article in the July e-newsletter: “Give a Little, Get a Lot: Why Giving is Good for Business” published in the Business News for Chamber of Commerce Mountain View, in Mountain View CA, addresses this very topic. Here is an excerpt.

"As a business owner, it’s easy to let giving slip off your list of priorities: when times are good, you may be too busy to notice the needs of the community; when times turn tough, giving back to your community isn’t your foremost concern. This is too bad, because businesses of every size have unique resources when it comes to solving local problems and in the process may solve some of your problems too.

Opportunities to give to the community are all around you, but what are the potential benefits on your end? It’s a reasonable question. Here are some answers:

Attract new customers and boost consumer loyalty

Giving back to the community provides an investment in its economic growth. After all, you’re helping to fortify your customer base. As former President Bill Clinton said at the recent Global Initiative: ‘Strong communities are good for business.’ Truly, as community members prosper, they quickly develop into new customers for local businesses.
Studies have shown that philanthropy influences consumer buying behavior. Just look at beloved brands like Ben & Jerry’s or Whole Foods. Customers will choose your business because they respect its values and wish to contribute their support to a worthy cause.

Enhance marketing and publicity

Philanthropic initiatives help your marketing dollars go further, creating a win-win for both you and your charity. Tying your advertising efforts to a cause of choice bolsters goodwill toward your business, while still bringing awareness to the cause. While you’re at it, why not Tweet about your experience? The Internet abounds with fresh marketing opportunities. In the world of social networking media alone, marketing techniques like blogging and posting links on a charity’s homepage can help drive Internet traffic to your site.
And don’t forget, word of mouth is the best advertising of all. All those enthusiastic new customers will be motivated to spread the word about your business. They’ll tell their friends and family, who in turn tell their friends and family. That sort of ‘viral’ goodwill goes a long way.
What’s more, businesses can build relationships with other businesses while working together for a cause. These relationships create valuable networking opportunities, generate leads and referrals, and yield valuable partnerships.

Create a better and happier work environment

Employees prefer to work for businesses that have a culture of caring and good citizenship. Attracting people of conscience and nourishing their lives through rewarding charitable projects can only contribute to your success.
You’ll also develop greater teamwork when employees volunteer for the effort. By working together in a fun and unique context, employees break loose of routine and learn about each other in new and different ways. Building better rapport helps you improve morale and create a more cooperative work environment. And employees gain opportunities for leadership development by honing new skills. They learn to take greater pride in their work by utilizing their existing base of knowledge in rewarding ways.”

Besides, you can wave the flag in front of your business with pride.

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