Giving time to a charitable partner can be great for your business — here’s how to do it well
Do you see the value of charitable giving as a tax receipt? Businesses that give back through community involvement rather than just signing a cheque greatly benefit their charitable partners — and themselves. Here’s how to pick the right one, and make a positive impact.
By Monica Gomez
Charitable contributions aren’t a new thing for businesses, but more and more, the practice is moving beyond just signing a cheque. Consumers are putting pressure on businesses to take an active role in doing good — 70 per cent of Millennials report they’ll spend more on brands that support causes — and research shows that engaging with charities in the community creates employees that are loyal, teamplayers, and brand ambassadors.
At my own business, The Concierge Club, I’ve seen the bottom-line benefit: with a rapidly growing company, our charitable initiatives have been a great way to stand out and attract new clients and talent with like-minded goals. But that hasn’t been the driving factor. To me, giving back is the most rewarding part of being a business owner. I’m humbled to be in a position where I have the means to directly impact those who need support.
And I’ve consciously built my company with a philanthropic spirit, so that everyone on the team is passionate about doing their part to give back — no matter how big or small that might be. During our interview process, one of the questions I always ask potential candidates is what their favourite give back moments are.
We love getting involved in our local community, and the work we have done with Yellow Brick House has been really inspirational for myself, my team, and the women and children we’re supporting. I knew I wanted to partner with a women’s shelter and after some research online, Yellow Brick House really stood out, as they empower mothers to rebuild their lives and give them a voice after suffering years of abuse. Every day they are operating at capacity and I knew straight away that The Concierge Club could have a huge impact — after two major initiatives and a fundraising effort, I believe that we have.
So the question is, how can you build a charitable partnership that has been as rewarding as ours, for everyone involved?
Start with your passion points.
I like to engage with everyone on my team and find out what they are passionate about. When you know what would inspire them to give back, you can work towards a goal together. As a mother of two, organizations that give back to women and children have always tugged at my heartstrings, and these types of organizations also resonate with my female-run team.
Plus, as a Toronto resident and owner of a business that does a ton of work in the Toronto market, supporting local is important for us. Yellow Brick House is an Ontario-based shelter, which makes it easier for us to use our available resources to make the lives of their residents better in any way that we can.
“To me, giving back is the most rewarding part of being a business owner. I’m humbled to be in a position where I have the means to directly impact those who need support.”
Focus on how your strengths can help their needs
It’s important to figure out what the organization is looking for and then determine how your business can best support them. It needs to make sense in terms of expertise and, of course, be a natural fit. Some questions we like to ask are: What are the charities objectives? What do they need most? When do they need it and how could they benefit from our services? We always want to ensure the partnership is authentic, so selecting an organization that allows us to bring an event or experience to life is very important.
In March 2018, we partnered with Women of Influence to host a day of pampering and career coaching at a luxury spa in Toronto for the women of Yellow Brick House. Included in the day was a career and resume workshop, where we sat down with each woman and outlined her goals and tangible next steps to help get her there. As part of our partnership, we launched a fundraiser with the goal of raising $5,000 to support the women and children of the shelter. I’m so proud of my team, as they were generous with not only their time to support this initiative but also with their money. After less than one week of fundraising, we surpassed our goal and ultimately raised $7,500.
Think long-term, and be creative.
We like to approach partnerships on a long term basis. Rather than a one-and-done or flash-in-the-pan approach, we pride ourselves on working with organizations to make a longstanding and consistent impact. Everyone at The Concierge Club was honoured to be working with Yellow Brick House for our second major initiative this year.
We did something a little different that could be enjoyed by all the residents and volunteers at Yellow Brick House. We completely renovated and freshened up parts of the shelter, making it a comfortable place for the women and children to gather together and enjoy some R&R. We refurbished the floors and some of the existing furniture, as well as purchased some new furniture and blinds for the windows and a fresh coat of paint, to brighten up the room.
Sometimes it can be hard to make time in a busy day for charity work, but the drive and passion the team has shown for Yellow Brick House is so heartwarming. We were all so thrilled at the end of our projects, that we can’t wait to get started on another.