Getting involved in community philanthropy is not only a good way to help other people who need a hand up in your town, but it’s also good for business.
If your motivation for getting involved in charity work is to bolster your company’s bottom line, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, feel good about it.
The American-born British banker, investor, and philanthropist Sir John Templeton is famous for having said:
“Help yourself by helping others.”
The great Indian statesman and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi once told a young man who was uncertain if he should spend money on his own higher education rather than give it to the poor:
“Raise yourself first to help mankind.”
Both Templeton and Gandhi understood that it is difficult for a person to save others from drowning if they are flailing around in the waves like everyone else. To save others, you must pull yourself “into the boat” before you are in a position of strength. Then you can reach down and throw lifelines to others.
If you own a business in your community, consider these three strategies:
Your business can sponsor a local program that is conducting philanthropic work in your area. For example, sponsoring a food drive for the food bank or sponsoring a blood drive for the Red Cross is a great way to create positive PR for your company. It raises your profile in a good way.
It’s extremely important to note that philanthropy is not always about a monetary donation. Giving your time and offering your sweat equity is simply a fantastic thing to do and it will make a real difference. Better yet, you’ll meet like-minded people and naturally engage in networking in sectors you may never have otherwise reached.
This includes both you are your employees. Many big companies strongly encourage their workers to get involved in community events, drives, initiatives, and projects. That can be helping people or doing things like cleaning up trash from a beach or starting a recycling drive.
Local Chamber of Commerce chapters tend to be exceptionally well connected to philanthropic efforts in the immediate business community. They are also experts at blending the process of doing good works with doing good business. Join the Chamber and tap into its resources.