Geelong Advertiser - - BUSINESS BEAT -

driv­ing the so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity move­ment and it’s been re­ported that an over­whelm­ing 70 per cent of the them re­spect brands that sup­port causes and will rate them higher in their pur­chas­ing choices.

Given just how much spend­ing power this group has (re­port­edly some $2.45 tril­lion glob­ally), po­si­tion­ing your busi­ness as hav­ing a gen­uine phil­an­thropic heart can only be good for busi­ness.

Only re­cently, we read about Gee­long’s Magic Mo­ment’s Foun­da­tion, which is yet again putting to­gether its Bas­ket Brigades an­nual drive, seek­ing non-per­ish­able goods, un­used toys and gifts to fill hampers for lo­cal dis­ad­van­taged fam­i­lies. It’s a great cause to sup­port and it’s not hard to give them a hand.

On a big­ger scale, some of the ma­jor global cor­po­rates have come up with cre­ative ways of do­ing so­cial good — for ex­am­ple, Stella Ar­tois’ “Buy a Lady a Drink” cam­paign, which pro­vides ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter to women (mothers) in third world coun­tries.

Or Ap­ple, which matches em­ployee do­na­tions and has de­liv­ered more than $100 mil­lion to char­i­ties.

But you don’t need to be a mega cor­po­ra­tion or have a mas­sive mar­ket­ing team to have an im­pact.

And now is the time to get think­ing about do­nat­ing, be­fore the sea­son to be jolly turns into the sea­son to be se­ri­ously run off your cor­po­rate feet.

Start by hav­ing a look around at the lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions that gen­uinely mat­ter to you, your em­ploy­ees and your com­mu­nity.

Small do­na­tions all add up and get­ting the team to­gether for a day or two of vol­un­teer­ing with a lo­cal char­ity is a great lev­eller in the of­fice and a great way to do some team build­ing.

The ben­e­fits to em­ployee morale are a ma­jor plus. It is no sur­prise em­ploy­ees re­spect com­pa­nies that care for their com­mu­nity.

A cou­ple of years ago, a Deloitte study found if a com­pany chose to make a cor­po­rate do­na­tion, work­place cul­ture im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly with in­creased em­ployee in­volve­ment and an im­proved pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. Peo­ple like to work with peo­ple who care.

More cyn­i­cally, char­i­ta­ble spon­sor­ships and do­na­tions also give you an op­por­tu­nity to have a pos­i­tive con­ver­sa­tion with cur­rent and would-be clients about the sort of com­pany you are.

And, of course, a tax de­duc­tion is a ben­e­fit of a char­i­ta­ble do­na­tion. But if a tax break is your pri­mary Grinch-like mo­ti­va­tor in sup­port­ing a lo­cal char­ity, please don’t bother. So who do you help? Find a char­ity you be­lieve in. Lo­cally, we’re lucky enough to have some amaz­ing char­i­ties who sup­port fam­i­lies in our re­gion. Apart from the Magic Mo­ment’s Foun­da­tion, there’s terrific causes like Give Where You Live, Gee­long Mums and Feed Gee­long to name a few.

And there’s al­ways na­tional bod­ies like the Smith Fam­ily who also sup­port lo­cal fam­i­lies.

What­ever you do — and how­ever you do it — just make sure you do it for all the right rea­sons.

Just re­mem­ber, Santa knows who’s gen­uinely naughty or nice.

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