There are a lot of ways to raise awareness of your business. You can focus on paid media such as advertising or earned media such as public relations efforts. You can attend a trade show, get out and talk with people … the list goes on. There’s also a uniquely altruistic way that may help you and your business do well by simply doing good.
I’ve never been a particularly big fan of the term “cause-related marketing” because I fear it misinterprets acts of good by businesses as being solely for their own benefit. While that’s certainly the case in some instances, giving back works best when companies and their employees participate for pure and unselfish reasons.
When that’s the case, the internal benefits are typically strong. It shows your employees you care and it connects them with their community. Ideally, any benefits derived for the company are simply unintended, or at least unrequired, consequences.
Generally speaking, a donation of time and talent goes further than solely a financial contribution. It’s also important to pick a cause that makes sense for your company, perhaps even taking into account the skills of your employees. Also, an ongoing relationship tends to be more beneficial in all aspects than a one-time occurrence.
In the world of small business, the relationship between communities and businesses tends to be symbiotic. Giving back to a worthy cause is just one more way to strengthen that connection on both sides. It doesn’t make your intentions less pure to have employees wear company-branded clothing while giving back or to accept any media coverage. Nor does it hurt to put the message out there on your blog, social media or elsewhere. You and your employees are likely proud of the endeavor and sharing it is good for morale, inspiring others and creating an identity of caring for your brand.
Strive to do well, seek to do good, and whatever you do, do it with purpose and care and those qualities will shine through.