Helping a charity and marketing your business
At this time of year many charities are clamouring for our attention. You've probably also noticed several large businesses aligning themselves with charities as part of their own marketing. The television advertisements by John Lewis and Marks and Spencer instantly spring to mind, but there are plenty of other examples.
Could you use this in your own business, and help others at the same time?
I'm not suggesting a big TV advertising campaign! Rather, the simple act of linking your business with a named charity or good cause. You could do this year-round.
There are many different ways of doing this. It could help differentiate your business from others. Supporting a charity can give you and your clients a nice warm glow too, as well as benefiting sone-one who needs it. You may find that aligning your business with a charity, community organisation or good cause leads to other opportunities.
It's essential to be genuine in this, and to align with an organisation or cause you actually care about. If you 'use' a charity just for your own purposes, it could backfire. Do it in a caring way & everyone benefits.
The first step is to consider what causes you are interested in, and what motivates you and your visitors.
For example, if you offer walking holidays it might make sense to nominate a local mountain rescue organisation as your cause. If you're dog-friendly, then perhaps an animal-related charity?
You might choose to be connected to a local charity you know, or a bigger issue such as conservation.
Once you've decided, it makes sense to try to stick with one organisation for a fixed period of time - perhaps a year - so you can build an affinity and have more of an impact. After this time, you can also tell your visitors what you've achieved.
Some businesses choose to simply nominate a charity and then display a collection box. There are other more pro-active ways you could help, such as donating a percentage of sales, asking visitors to do/give something, make something or organise an event in aid of your chosen good cause.
You can announce this on social media, on your website, and in mailings. You can give regular updates, maybe include a behind-the-scenes blog about your good cause, and explain your connection to it on your 'about' page.
You don't have to 'gush' or 'virtue-signal', just clearly explain what you're doing, why and how others can help.
Offering your time can be as invaluable as offering money. Some charities really need volunteers, whether to help in a shop, help children read, exercise dogs, or simply offer a listening ear.
You might consider creating a special service or different way of doing things in order to raise funds for a particular cause. I'm often asked if I can offer one-to-one marketing support so I started offering these sessions in aid of the refugee family we're hosting. It's been very popular, helped businesses with their marketing and enabled me to buy essential supplies and subsidise utility bills for the Ukrainian family.
It's a good idea to let the charity or organisation you're supporting know that you're doing this. They usually have a set of logos, images and message you can share to build awareness and may have additional suggestions of ways to help you help them.
Charity support like this can be a useful talking point with your visitors, starting new connections and conversations. It will make you more memorable - and hopefully raise much needed funds and awareness for a cause you care about.
I've love to hear what you do!