How to make philanthropy part of your business year-round

The holiday season is over. Sadly, that means philanthropy season is over too. Charitable donations in December are usually more than twice as high as the average of the previous 11 months, according to the Blackbaud Institute of Philanthropic Impact. But businesses can help.

While any donations are worthwhile and generous, far too many business leaders fail to ingrain philanthropy into their missions all year long. They simply check the philanthropy box during the holidays and move on. In fact, corporations only account for five percent of all charitable giving, compared to individuals who account for 70 percent, according to Giving USA.

Not only are business leaders missing an opportunity to make positive changes in the communities they serve, but they’re also losing the chance to boost team member morale and show potential guests that they value more than just money.

Why do customers support your organization? If you think it’s simply because you’ve created the finest button-down or the best tasting cup of coffee, you’re sorely mistaken. They often want to support organizations they believe in–and they express this sentiment with their wallets. According to Nielsen, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of global consumers are willing to pay extra for more sustainable brands, and that number rises to 73 percent for millennials.

Speaking of millennial consumers, a majority of the millennials surveyed around the world agree that businesses “have no ambition beyond wanting to make money,” according to Deloitte. Meanwhile, 75 percent of millennials claim to “see businesses around the world focusing on their own agendas rather than considering the wider society.”

Focusing on philanthropy won’t just attract customers; it’ll help you attract and retain talented team members. A Spherion study found that 78 percent of the employees surveyed consider their connection to a company’s culture and values during their job searches, while American Express found that 81 percent of the US millennial business leaders it surveyed believe that having a purpose is important for a business, and 78 percent believe that the values of their employer should match their own. The data is clear: A strong social mission can help businesses win the war for talent.

Read the full story at Forbes. 
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