Charitable Giving Can Build Relationships with Key Customers

A non-existent marketing and advertising budget doesn’t mean your business is banished to the land of invisible. One of the most effective ways to keep your brand in the community’s mind is to support charitable causes near and dear to the community.

“When a business supports nonprofits, it lets the community know the business is engaged in the community. They’re not just there for the customers,” said Deborah Dale, chief development officer at the Primavera Foundation, a local nonprofit supported by volunteers and donations. “They’re supporting the customers’ children or causes and that builds rapport with their customers.”

Studies support the idea that customers respond to the businesses which support their pet causes. Find out what charities your customers or staff support and help out. Let your customers and staff know by inviting them to pick a charity to donate to through your business, suggested Dana Robbins-Murray, account director with Caliber Group. One example would be to host a canned food drive or pet supply collection for the Community Food Bank or Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Marketing Intelligence, marketing research and strategy consultants, invited its employees and clients to roll up their sleeves and pitch in at the Community Food Bank.

“We were planning a holiday party for our clients, and with the economy being the way it was we asked, ‘Is this really the time to spend money on a party?’ ” said Chris Baker, senior research associate with MI.

“It just seems there’s so much more we could do with that money. So we thought it’d be better if we gave it to the food bank and still spent some quality time with our clients through volunteering.”

The Caliber Group, a Brand Marketing, PR and Web agency, gave donations to clients’ preferred charities in lieu of holiday gifts this year.

“We knew charities were hurting because of the economy and we felt a goodwill gesture on behalf of our clients would be more welcome than yet another fruit basket,” said Linda Welter Cohen, CEO and principal at Caliber Group.

The holidays aren’t the only time of year charities are in need, Dale said.

“Primavera relies heavily on volunteers,” Dale said. “During the holidays, it’s high on everyone’s radar. But we’re still providing those same services and programs 365 days of the year. We can see a drop-off at the first of the year, so year-round partnerships are beneficial.”

“It’s another way to be visible in the community and get a double-bang for their buck.”

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