Companies are helping their communities and building their business through social initiatives. Charitable contributions, giveaways and supporting social events, however, can be a double edge sword.

As an owner, I have given more than I can afford, leaving me in a position of weakness. I knew I wanted to serve my community but it had to also serve my core values and business goals. Over the last eight years, I have developed the following survival skills in business that promote a win/win philosophy in all areas of my company.

Being philanthropic is a good business decision. Here are the do’s and dont’s of social giving:

  1. Say ‘No’ until you can afford to say ‘Yes’. Your first responsibility is to yourself and your company. The more money you make; the more money you can give away. It is also completely acceptable to delay your response until you’ve considered the proposal.
  1. Consider the charity/event. Don’t give for the sake of giving to anyone who asks. Create a standard application form, insist on social media sharing, and budget your giving accordingly.
  1. Weigh Sponsorship Opportunities. The average sponsorship request for a larger company is $2,500. Before you agree to sponsor any event, consider the return of investment to your company. Will you be included in marketing, have an opportunity to speak to guests, be included in any swag bag materials? Will your sponsorship have a shelf life? Continually weigh the benefits of event participation versus what will be expended.
  1. Develop Win/Win Partnerships. Direct partnerships have worked better for Moxie Trades than indirect sponsorships. Events that engage the community and put you front and centre with its participants are by far the most effective. Events that help you achieve your own goals are an added benefit.
  1. Increase your offering. The majority of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products committed to charitable giving. Consider increasing your services or products by 1% and then give away 1%. This is an absolute win-win proposition.
  1. Create a feel good factor. Acknowledging your consumers and your audience builds community and buy-in. Nationally, Moxie Trades created a contest to acknowledge exceptional women in the trades. Locally, we sponsor Durham’s Woman of the Year, which not only honours an exceptional local entrepreneur but also matches this with a donation to a local charity.
  1. Social impact.  One of Moxie Trades’ founding principles is to give women the tools required to be successful in business. This year, Project 2025 will dedicate substantial resources to moving the dial toward equality. Why Project 2025? My children will inherit this world and I want this to be one of my legacies to them. When women are successful and empowered, they can eradicate countless social ills. Equality for all  is my fight and I will be dedicating the next 10 years to Project 2025.

Determine where your passion lies: poverty, children, women, animals, or the environment, and direct all of your social giving there.

Including social giving into your business plan is vital to your success.  Begin today to draft a plan that ensures your giving supports your business goals.