By Nicki Escudero
Social Media and Content Strategist
It’s hard not to want to support a legitimate charity with a strong mission. People love to give, and in today’s digital world, showing off your support for a cause is as easy as “Like”-ing a Facebook page.
In her recent book Renegades Write the Rules, social media maven Amy Jo Martin writes about the popularity of TOMS, a shoe brand that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that is bought. She credits the brand’s success to making its customers feel like they’re “sharing and collaborating instead of spending and consuming,” which is more emotionally rewarding to many consumers.
There are many other examples of companies that integrate charity into their business model — a Phoenix deals website, Doozy of a Deal, donates 7.5 percent of their proceeds to local non-profit organizations, and Martin’s own company, Digital Royalty, is donating social media education to Teach for America when Digital Royalty University classes are purchased. Here are five easy ways your small business can integrate charity into its own brand.
1. Donate based on purchases. Whether your brand follows a similar “buy one, give one” model such as TOMS, donates a percentage of each sale to a charity or donates a fixed amount once a certain quantity has been purchased, when consumers know their procurements are also helping a cause, they’ll feel great about buying.
2. Conduct a joiner campaign. Want to earn social media fans while also raising money for charity? Launch a joiner campaign, where each new Facebook “Like,” Twitter follower, etc., equals a certain amount donated to a charity. Figure out how much each of your social media followers is worth – “total revenue generated by a social media message or campaign by the number of social media fans and followers” (Martin) — and adjust your donation amount to make it consistent with your revenue goals.
3. Sponsor a community event. No matter your company’s public relations budget, there is always a community event you’ll be able to be a part of. Once you’ve secured sponsorship, attend the event and get involved in other ways, such as sharing their event promotions with your own networks. Your business could also make volunteering mandatory by participating in a volunteer event during company time, which is another way to foster meaningful relationships that may bolster your business’ sales.
4. Partner with a charity, and spread each other’s mission. If there’s one charity your brand would like to get behind, create a long-term partnership that helps spread each other’s brands. Share each other’s social media updates, and create a public, symbiotic, long-lasting relationship that causes fans of both brands to associate you with each other – if you’re both trustworthy and quality bands, you’ll only help to expose each other to worthwhile audiences.
5. Volunteer on your own. Encouraging your employees to get involved in their own charitable efforts is also important, not just because of the meaningful contributions made, but also because volunteering is a way to network with other passionate people. Well-roundedness in your employees reflects well on your company, and volunteering is a great way to network for your business, as well. To inspire your staff to volunteer, recognize those who give their time to serve by sharing their accomplishments to the team, since it’s nice to recognize work that benefits the needy.
How has your brand been charitable? Let us know in the comments.