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An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Charities, Fundraisers, and Giving Back

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Organization Design Toolkit (103-slide PowerPoint presentation). Recent McKinsey research surveyed a large set of global executives and suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. A rise in efforts in Organizational Design is attributed to the accelerating pace of structural change generated by market [read more]

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Depositphotos_25048695_s-2015If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s important to keep in mind that the single biggest factor in sales and repeat business is invoking an emotional response in your customers long after they’ve left your presence. That kind of impression is worth more than hundreds of tweets, emails and promo codes could ever be. And the most interesting part about this aspect of consumerism is that it’s so difficult to pinpoint and predict the emotions of your audience. However, supporting a charity or hosting a fundraiser can be an important vehicle for making a lasting impression on your customers.

Finding Your Ethos

When supporting charities and putting together fundraisers, it’s important that you remain true to your ethos: the heart of your business and ultimately the people running it. Why do you wake up and get out of bed to do this job every morning? Perhaps Picasso said it best: “The purpose of life is to find your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.”

What do you really want to give back to a community that has made it possible for you to stay in business? What do you and your team want to change about the world? The answers to these questions are a guide to building a community of real, passionate cheerleaders for a business that gives back.

Supporting the Best Cause

You may not be pushing the most exciting product in the world. You may not be pushing a tangible product at all. But finding the heart of a company is easy because there are always people with common goals behind it.

What causes are you passionate about? What about your staff? Being genuine about your passion and goals is the best way to reach not only your customers, but also a community of people who share them. The best cause for your company isn’t the most logical or strategic one. It’s the one that’s closest to your heart.

Promote Positivity Creatively

Follow the example of Cancer Research UK and keep your marketing approach as simple and honest as possible. When the infamous #nomakeup hashtag began going viral, charity organizers were paying attention. They noticed women from all walks of life, including countless celebrities, post heartfelt messages to social media about positive body image and realistic beauty expectations. The hashtag created a positive movement through social media that didn’t cost anyone a dime. Cancer Research UK reached out to social media users who posted no-makeup selfies and those who commented on the posts and encouraged them to volunteer or make a donation via text. The best approach is often simple and honest.

Hosting Your Event

The best way to connect with a charity and build a lasting relationship is to raise funds through a community-building event. Picnics, recreational sports, raffles — these morale-boosting events can also be set up to give back to the charity that you’re passionate about. For example, DriveTime Kids in Need 5K Run promotes the welfare of our youth as well as your personal health. DriveTime’s website makes it easy to click the Share Your Story button to help a child in need in your area.

When hosting your event, look for local sponsors who can partner with you and take on some of the planning or donate food and refreshments. Be sure to inform local media to increase exposure for your event and help raise as much awareness and funds for your worthy cause as possible.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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