During the holidays, we are bombarded by dozens of pleas for charitable giving.  Especially during a down economy, nonprofits and charitable causes are typically suffering from low response because consumers tend to give when they are not preoccupied with how to pay their mortgages.

But what if you are a small business owner?  Whether it is the holidays or year round, does your small business give to charity?

I think we can assume that most people and small businesses give charitably out of genuine concern and care.  People like to associate themselves with businesses that support meaningful projects.  It’s makes us feel good.  Thus, the marketing benefit is that this attaches a likability factor to your business.  And, yes, consumers are looking for reasons to like you (because they typically don’t like your prices).

Big companies have long employed charitable giving into their strategy of getting customers to know, like and trust them.  McDonald’s has a long history with Ronald McDonald House Charities and Subway is affiliated with the American Heart Association.  As a father of an adopted daughter, I love Wendy’s because of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (OK, so it’s their Frosty, too).

How will your business share your success to impact your community and the world?  Recognize the importance of rallying your team behind a passion greater than your organization itself.  Differentiate your organization by focusing on selfless acts of community service.

To see most common ways to participate philanthropically, visit my article on this same subject at the AMEX Open Forum for Small Business.

Randy Vaughn - Contributing Blogger - AMEX Open Forum for Small Business



Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Andrea Ahles offers a recent companion piece on how shoppers can be charitable.
Todd Schnick of Intrepid Marketing also weighs in on how giving back to your community is good marketing!