We all know that giving time or money to a good cause helps us feel better about ourselves. But did you know that it can also help your bottom line? From increased sales, to word of mouth, to improved culture, doing good can be very good for your business.
A number of recent studies have shown benefits for businesses that support charitable causes through donations, partnerships or volunteering. Take a look at these stats, compiled by B2B marketer, Pardot:
- 83% of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes. *2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study
- 86% of Americans expect a company to use resources such as employee volunteerism to support a nonprofit or social cause. *LBG Research Institute 2009
Market research firm Edelman publishes an annual “GoodPurpose Study,” sharing insights on customer preferences and behavior related to companies and charity. According to the study, 76% of customers will buy and recommend products from companies that actively support good causes. Perhaps more importantly, 44% of those surveyed would refuse to buy from and even actively criticize companies that don’t support a charitable cause.
But beyond public perception and preference, there’s also evidence that customers are more likely to make a purchase (or to spend more) when a product they want is connected to a charitable cause. So while you may be donating a small percentage of your profits to a good cause, you could potentially earn back even more in increased sales and word-of-mouth marketing.
A key challenge of this practice is figuring out how you can help and how you can communicate your charitable efforts in a way that’s consistent with your brand. Here are some tips that may help:
Choose something you’re passionate about
Obviously, you shouldn’t give to charity just for the sake of talking about it. Find a cause that you, your employees and your customers can connect with.
Jute & Jackfruit is an online designer boutique committed to environmentally and socially conscious fashion. Focusing on limited-edition, handmade clothing, jewelry and handbags, Jute & Jackfruit offers a unique product line that is very appealing to a specific type of customer. As they explain on their site:
One important goal of Jute & Jackfruit is to empower women worldwide. We try to partner with and support independent women designers here in the United States as well as designers and products that are made by women’s artisan groups and cooperatives overseas.
Additionally, they also partner with 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of their sales to environmental organizations around the world. Through their commitment to independent female designers, sustainable materials and fair business practices, Jute & Jackfruit supports causes they care about, while also providing their customers with products that they can be proud to wear and proud to tell their friends and family about.
Give your customers a choice
If you want to get your customers even more excited about the positive impact of their purchase, give them a choice of causes to help.
Volusion customer, Dura Doggie™ specializes in creative, durable dog toys. When they decided it was time to give back, Dura Doggie launched a program called “Chews Your Cause,” allowing customers to donate to a variety of causes based on the color of toy they purchase. “Chews” a pink toy, and 20% of the profit goes towards breast cancer research. Blue toys benefit animals, green for environmental causes and orange toys help fight diabetes.
By partnering with a variety of charities, Dura Doggie has increased the chances that their customers will find a cause they really connect with. And by connecting the act of giving directly to the color or type of product, they also have ensured that customers will continue to think about their good deed every time they see the toy.
Doing good isn’t always about giving money. There are countless charitable organizations that need volunteers as much, if not more, as they need financial donations. You can do this in a number of ways.
S’well Bottles donates a portion of their profits directly to WaterAid to support safe water and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities. But they also encourage their customers to get involved on their own by volunteering or setting up personal fundraising pages directly with WaterAid. Now, S’well Bottles doesn’t benefit from these acts, but that’s not the point. S’well’s mission is “to support safe water resources for all people and to reduce plastic bottle waste,” and these actions directly support that mission.
You can also volunteer within your own community, either as a company or as individuals. Volunteering helps support a cause you care about, while also letting people in your community get to know your brand.
Here at Volusion, we’re all encouraged to take time off of work and volunteer for a worthy cause. So in addition to donating money and stores to charitable causes around the world, we’re trying to make a difference close to home by volunteering in our own community.
Doing good is good for you, and for your business
Do all of these charitable activities help improve the bottom line for businesses? It can be hard to say. In an increasingly connected and competitive marketplace, every bit of positive press can help. But beyond that, helping others can help us feel better about ourselves and feel happier in our daily lives. And really, isn’t that worth it?