With the recent tragedy that is taking place in Haiti, both Canadian citizens and businesses have been donating generously towards helping those in the impoverished nation who so desperately need it. Since last Tuesday’s earthquake, donations have been made by Canadians from all over the country to help the Caribbean nation with the relief effort.
And while donating money towards this cause is a very noble and generous action, may business owners rightly consider the benefits that such donations may have for their businesses. In a December 2009 article in The Toronto Star, the many benefits associated with small businesses giving to charity were discussed.
According to the article, experts believe that companies who donate to charities are not only generous but are also making good business sense. Becky Reuber, professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, believes that donating can raise a small company’s profile in the community.
“You might get some media coverage from it, which would bring attention to your business,” says Reuber, noting that involvement in the community can allow small business owners to gain access to networks that “could play off…later on.”
Boosting employee morale is another benefit to giving a portion of your profits to charities, according to Eileen Fischer, a marketing professor who holds the entrepreneurship and family enterprise chair at York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Says Fischer: “There’s a sense that employees want to feel they are part of something that matters to the world.” She adds that creating relationships with charities can “make the workplace a much more meaningful place for employees. So it may be easier to attract employees and…keep employees.”
Fischer also believes that donating to worthy causes can help set your company apart from its competitors. Supporting non-profit organizations, she says, may help reinforce your brand.
The Toronto Star article notes that some business owners have personal reasons for donating to charities which are generally the most important reasons to do so. Charles Bybelezer, president of S.I.R. Waters International, donates a portion of his earnings from ELLE Water to the Canadian Cancer Society. He does so in support of breast cancer research because his mother and grandmother are breast cancer survivors.
Meaning “she” in French, ELLE water bottles are decorated with pink ribbons which are associated with breast cancer awareness. Five percent of all proceeds from the sale of these bottles are designated towards his charitable donations.
It is never a bad idea to consider donating a portion of your proceeds to a charity of your choice. Needless to say, the benefits of doing so are plentiful. For both personal and professional reasons, it may be one of the most important business decisions you can make.