By Zohaib Akhlaq 

Running a small business can sometimes be a cash flow challenge. When there are ten different priorities, the last thing to cross your mind is giving money away. But sometimes, that is exactly what you need to do to jump start your success. Charitable giving in the name of your business can accomplish several things.

1. Gets Your Name Out There

When you donate to a charitable event, with either cash or an in-kind donation, the charity will list your name on the program recognizing you as a sponsor. Some NPO will allow you to display a banner with your logo and company name at the event. Other events, like golf outings, include whole sponsor signs as part of the sponsorship package.

You may also be able to work with the charity on branding the campaign, like “Supplies for Second Graders.” Then every time the campaign is mentioned, your name along with the charity will be mentioned.

2. Establishes Your Character in the Community

Companies that give back to the community are often highly regarded for their charitable spirit. This often results not only in general goodwill, but others also willing to try your products or services because they admire your spirit.

3. Boosts Employee Morale

Working together to benefit a charitable cause can bring your employees together in a team spirit. For example, a charity hosts a plane pull event. Companies have teams of 18 people pull a plane. All 18 have to raise a minimum amount of money, and then they have to work together to pull a plane 10 feet. This exercise brings the team together on two common goals that have little to do with work.

The bonds formed though, overlap into the workplace and benefit how those people work together on business projects.

4. Develops New Business Leads

Attending charity fundraising events and participating in benefit projects exposes you and your company to people you may not have met in the past. While spending time benefitting the charity, you form a bond that is different than the typical sales relationship.

Your time spent getting to know new people in a non-sales environment will likely lead to new business from the contacts you meet there, without spending excessive dollars on sales and marketing efforts.

5. Finds Hidden Employee Talents

Doing work for a charity — even a one-time event — can let your employees show off skills they have that they may not use every day in the workplace. Whether it is event organization, or how to build something, pulling your team together to donate time to a charity can let you see a different side of people you work with every day.

6. Provides Tax Benefits

Charitable donations can benefit you at tax time. Donations are a deduction to a certain point. Discuss the details with your tax advisor.

7. Creates Publicity

Being part of a charitable benefit, either as a sponsor or as a participant in a hands-on event is newsworthy. Have your marketing coordinator issue a press release a few days before the event to newspapers, television stations and local bloggers.

As a company, you may want to choose two or three specific charities to develop a relationship with and to donate to regularly. It is more powerful a story if the charity you choose is connected to someone in your company personally. For example, if your bookkeeper’s son has autism, you may support a charity that benefits research for autism. If you receptionist has breast cancer, you may choose a cancer foundation.

How does your business get involved in charitable giving?