Denzel Washington said: At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished…it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.

The fall season is the time when businesses get inundated with donation requests. The challenge for businesses is deciding whom to give too and how much to give.

I asked a CEO how he decided which charities to donate too. He said that his rule was that he donated to causes his employees were passionate about; these are the charities that his employees volunteered at. Another business owner told me that he will always donate to any cause or charity that benefits the children. Others chose to give to seniors and veterans. Regardless of how your business chooses to give back, businesses to include charitable donations in their marketing expenses. Businesses, give back to support their communities but it is also a tool they use to build a presence in the community. Consumers are more likely to do businesses with companies that give back to their communities.

Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation said: “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference”

Four benefits of strategic giving:

  1. Builds stronger relationships with customers.

82% of US consumers consider corporate social responsibility when they shop.

  1. Generates higher employee retention rates.

Giving matters to employees, it makes you a desired employer, creates loyalty and higher employee retention. Two-thirds of people between 18 – 34 want to work for and do business with companies that donate to local charities.

  1. Provides you with low-cost marketing and publicity.

Donating to local events always includes some sort of company name recognition with the event. Some companies choose to be quietly give, however, you do need to change your mindset and ‘toot’ your own horn. Showing community spirit and pride is a win/win for the business as it builds a better rapport with consumers and is a testament that you want to be involved with the community.

5. Initiate and continue a meaningful conversation.

Be sure to promote your activities on your website, blog, newsletter and external marketing vehicles.

For people/employees seeking organizations to volunteer at, be sure to check out the “Just Serve” App. You enter in your zip code and find a list of organization that are seeking volunteers.

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Seniors homes
  • Food pantry
  • Library
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • American Cancer Society
  • After School youth programs
  • Recovery in motion – substance abuse
  • Cards of kindness
  • Community quilts
  • Veteran to Veteran

One of the greatest gifts, you can give is your time. Volunteering doesn’t take a lot of time. It can take as much as a little time as you can schedule most important  part of volunteering is aligning yourself with an organization or group that  you are passionate about, so that you will continue to give.