Social philanthropy is quickly becoming an important component of all brands, even for small businesses. Without some sort of charitable element, all of your branding principles can ring hollow. Perhaps even more importantly, supporting charities provides synergistic ways to promote you company in a positive light.
As a matter of fact, supporting local causes is one of the best ways for small businesses to get their name out there. Business owners should not feel like they are being selfish or exploitative by recognizing this. Their efforts to promote an important cause and their business at the same time get people to pay attention.
Besides, charities need your support! Individuals can only do so much, and even local groups and non-profits rely too heavily on volunteers to organize most things on their own. They will need sponsors and vendors and event support. They could also use signal boosts from as many media outlets as possible, including small business marketing channels.
So start helping your business, your community and those that need help the most by adopting social philanthropy as a core component of both your branding and your operations.
How Giving Through Social Philanthropy Helps You Get More
Let’s jump right to it: very few people care about the marketing messages that small businesses put out there.
Yes, there is a slim demographic who will be absolutely excited about your services and products, especially when you are offering them at a discount. But most people skim right over these messages. Even if what you are telling them brings value to their life, they have become deaf to it.
Why? There’s just too much saturation. We’ve learned to ignore most of it. According to a 2014 study, people see around 362 ads in a single day. Their brains actually notice 153 of them, which equals just 42%. You can bet the farm that most of these memorable ads come from brands they already recognize or from companies packing huge marketing budgets.
Small brands can combat this ad blindness by marketing for a worthy cause instead. Everyone cares about their community, the less fortunate, and important causes like the environment and animal welfare.
91% of people said they were likely to switch to a brand that promotes a good cause. 92% of people said they would buy products that offer concrete social or environmental benefits.
By arranging events and broadcasting charitable messages, you give people the opportunity to feel like they’re contributing — even if they’re just attending an event or offering a social share.
Ideas for Effective Charity Marketing for Small Businesses
Examples of great philanthropy marketing ideas include:
- Offering matched donations or donations for every share your post gets (which can end up cheaper than paid advertising’s cost-per-impression)
- Arranging or sponsoring an event where your branding and products are given prominent placement. The annual Chili Cook-Off at Terrapin Beer Co. benefits the Humane Society but also serves as a huge draw.
- Contributing to an important cause through donations and volunteer work, which earns you local press coverage. Remember that link citations from website like local newspapers are important SEO ranking signals!
- Co-creating a product or promotional event where every sale donates a portion of proceeds to the cause. Sweetwater, another local brewery, makes a Waterkeeper IPA and donates a portion of each sale to protecting the Chattahoochee waterway.
Some Final Thoughts
No matter what charity you choose to collaborate with, ensure that it has a direct positive effect on the issue it claims to help. Many charities have fallen under scrutiny for using donations to fund huge marketing campaigns for “awareness” rather than helping anyone at the local level.
Also, make sure you can connect the charity to your brand philosophy and that the cause you support is consistent with your business practices. A cigarette company promoting a collaboration with a lung cancer charity group would be a bad move, for instance. Practice what you preach!
When you are able to combine great charitable causes with effective marketing tactics and a cohesive branding strategy, you can help your business while you help the world. After all, that’s what being a business owner truly is about.