There are many ways that companies can put purpose at the heart of their business. Obviously not every company delivers direct services to the community, but nonetheless operating ethically and responsibly and making a concerted effort to support people – your people, the local community and society at large – is something every organisation can do. In terms of ‘charitable support’ that can take many forms such as fundraising, mentoring, volunteering, becoming Trustees, and much more.
Some companies like to make regular charitable donations, maybe as a fixed percentage of their turnover or a specific amount on winning a new contract; the options are endless. If that sounds like something you would like to consider, lovely ORB member, Work For Good, has a fantastic platform to make charitable giving easy, and help you put purpose at the heart of your business.
When you’re setting up your own business it can be hard to factor in charity donations – with barriers such as additional admin, lack of time, or the thought that you’re not big enough to make a difference standing in your way. However, we believe no business is too small to make a real difference, and placing a charitable purpose at the heart of your work can bring a variety of additional benefits.
Giving to charity isn’t just a ‘nice thing to do’ it can also be incredibly empowering, personally significant and give you and your business a wider purpose that helps you stand out from competitors. While it may seem easier to wait until you’re “fully established” to commit to charity donations, the benefit in setting this up early outweigh any perceived negatives. Just knowing your work is making a difference to a charitable organisation can help spur you on through any difficult times, will give you something to feel proud of alongside your business achievements and can help attract and retain clients through showing you have an ethical business model.
In fact businesses with a clear ‘Brand Purpose’ (seen as making lives better) on average grew 3 x faster over the past 12 years.
But can I really make an impact?
Yes. You’ll be surprised how little it can take to make a real difference to a charitable cause or organisation, especially local groups who don’t have the ability to reach out to or engage with the big business players. With a £50 donation FareShare, one of our charity partners can redistribute enough surplus food for charities to serve up 200 meals, making a huge difference to the most vulnerable people in our communities. Just proving that you don’t have to think big to act big.
The easiest way to ensure your business makes a difference is through setting up a regular % donation from your profits, invoices or sales, as these will add up over time and require no extra effort on your part to achieve.
Moreover, through making clients and customers aware that they too are giving something back through using your business you could increase the amount you donate, with research showing that 89% of clients would switch brands to support a specific cause.
Make it personal
Deciding which charity out of the thousands existing you want to donate to can be daunting, to say the least. A good way to help narrow down your options is to focus on the difference you would like to help bring about, or to give back to a service or organisation that has helped you or someone you know. The feel-good factor of giving back isn’t a myth, and knowing you are playing a real role in contributing to something you are passionate about simply through doing what you love is a feeling like no other.
“I wanted to give back in a way that felt meaningful. I wanted my work to help others do theirs” – Lee Lam
One woman who can attest to this is Lee Lam, a disruptor consultant within the financial services who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. During her treatment, Lee was fortunate to receive support from local charity the Chartwell Cancer Trust. When she returned to work she decided to donate 10% of every invoice raised between March and December 2018 to the charity, helping the Trust continue the incredible work that helped her through her battle with cancer.
Talking about why Lee gives to charity she said:
“When I tell people that I give to charity through my business, I am confirming to them that my business is here to benefit all of society which is really the purpose of every business… I am able to improve my own reputation and people want to work with me because they know that in a way they are giving back as well”.
Choosing an organisation or cause you feel passionate about will also help you explain why you give to charity in any marketing, social media or business proposals you create, clearly and passionately aligning your work with a bigger purpose and inspiring others to support your efforts through engaging in business. That can be a large national charity or a local charity.
Okay, so what’s the catch?
A lot of legal administration. The Charities Act states that any business encouraging the purchase of goods or services on the basis that some of the proceeds will go to charity, or that a donation will be made, need to establish a ‘commercial participator agreement’ (CPA) in place with the charity. Which, of course, means additional admin. The last thing you need when setting yourself up.
This is where Work for Good comes in. Work for Good is an online platform that facilitates business giving, designed to enable you to embed charitable giving in smart ways that enhance business growth while funding good causes. Think of us as the ‘Just Giving’ for the business world!
We do the hard work of connecting businesses with charities and handling the CPA, removing the legal, tax and admin hassle. Leaving you to focus on establishing your business and securing those all important clients or sales! When you register you have the choice of how you give, for example some consultants have chosen to donate a small % of every invoice, one restaurant has a ‘giving table’ from which the profit of every meal goes to cause, and some of our business members look to attract, retain and motivate their team through various charity pledge structures. You can be as creative as you like with your donations, and we’ll be there every step of the way to offer guidance and support.
Who Work for Good are and why we exist
Work for Good is dedicated to helping small businesses connect with and donate to charities on a local, national or international scale. Helping them realise their aim of giving back and removing the barriers that often stand in the way of business giving.
Created by Rupert Pick, Work for Good came about after Rupert was inspired to give back to the staff at Evelina Children’s Hospital who cared for his daughter Ottie, born 10 weeks premature, weighing less than 3lbs and with two rare genetic conditions. After donating the fees from his next workshop to the hospital, Rupert realised how significant business giving could be for other charities.
Join our community
Work for Good have solved the legal and tax barriers that stand in the way of small businesses making a difference and making a positive impact through charitable giving. By joining Work for Good you’ll be part of a growing community of like-minded small business owners who have purpose at the heart of their business, and are dedicated to using their work to inspire positive change. We’d love to help you make a difference, so contact us today to find out how Work for Good could benefit your business.
ORB members receive 50% off Work for Good’s membership fees for the first year by using the appropriate discount code at the subscription phase on www.workforgood.co.uk If you are a member, contact Jill Poet for the discount code.
By Anna Estop-Hall, Head of Memberships, Work for Good