Within 24 hours of announcing that two weeks’ worth of its profits would go to help those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, Epic Games – most famous for the hugely popular Fortnite franchise – had raised an impressive $36 million.
This donation has served to highlight two things. Firstly, it demonstrates the company’s commitment to corporate citizenship and second, the move serves to raise profile and increase brand recognition. As an entrepreneur, donating to charitable causes can be good for business and good for the world, but there are thing to bear in mind before embarking on any philanthropic ventures.
Bringing charity and business together
The best approach to giving something back through your business, is to make charity a part of your business.
One-time donations, especially in times of crisis, can, regardless of intention, come off as opportunistic. For long-term impact and positive association, it’s good to have a long-term relationship with a charity which indicates you are in it for the right reasons, not just to score a PR victory.
Your business first needs to align with the idea that you care enough to make changes to your business internally. For example, Mercedes is committed to a carbon neutral future, aiming to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2039. This means the company is practicing what it preaches and so the message feels authentic.
The car manufacturer has sunk significant amounts into this ambitious project but has done so in a way that resonates positively with its customer base.
Align with causes dear to your customers
There are many causes out there that could use fundraising efforts and picking one to work with is difficult.
You need to focus on charitable causes that your customers will approve and support. Take the time to understand your customers before choosing. Most customers remain loyal to businesses that support charitable work. However, they expect your business to pick a suitable one for them to get behind so, give this some careful thought before committing.
Many charitable causes have failed or faced controversy due to secrecy and a refusal to share details of activities and transactions. Unscrupulous players in the charity world have damaged corporate images before.
To mitigate this risk, you need to maintain accurate records of all dealings with charitable organisations, and make them available to the public. It’s vital to also partner with philanthropic organisations that have a clean record in a good reputation.
Worthy causes to support
When choosing which cause to support, you need the input of your customers and employees. Look at the community around your headquarters and pick something that affects their lives. While reaching out to the world is inspirational, you’ll have better success if you focus on locations that resonate for your customers and employees.
The purpose of charity is to improve the lives of those in need and the state of our environment. Such efforts don’t go unnoticed and help you connect better with your target market while increasing brand loyalty. Picking the right cause however, and supporting it in the right way, requires some careful consideration.