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While we often associate the holidays with a season of giving, the fact is that the charities your plumbing or HVAC company supports would benefit more if you promoted them throughout the calendar year.
The last quarter of the year is traditionally the best time for most fundraising. According to the nonprofit blog DonorBox, December is the busiest time of the year for donations. Nearly 31 percent of all donations are made that month; 12 percent alone comes in the final three days of the year.
Of course, some of the strength in donations comes from catching the Christmas spirit, but many decide to give at the end of the year in order to count it against their taxable income in April.
However, need doesn’t stop once the holidays are over. The nonprofits your company supports would benefit from a consistent flow of donations throughout the year.
A Deliberate Approach
Waiting until the end of the year to meet your corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations can limit your choices and the number of donations you can collect. Starting your CSR considerations at the first of the year allows you to put more thought into your processes.
Giving yourself more time to consider what’s important to you also allows you to choose a charity aligning with your values and your company’s values.
On the flip side, once you have chosen a meaningful cause, it becomes easier to plan a year-round giving strategy because you truly care about the organizations you’ve chosen. You also have the time to familiarize yourself with your charity’s goals and plan events accordingly.
You should consult your employees on your charitable choices. For a CSR campaign to truly be successful, you need employee buy-in. Allowing your office staff, plumbers or HVAC techs to vote on the charities your organization chooses to support will spread the excitement and provide your employees with a variety of charities they can get behind.
Designing a Year-Round Giving Strategy
Generosity is always appreciated, but the reality for many charitable organizations is that they need a continuous flow of cash to carry out their good deeds. As you have budgets and payroll you must follow all year, so do philanthropic organizations.
Some ways to keep the spirit up throughout the year include:
• Employee engagement. By offering a variety of times throughout the year for your employees to participate in fundraising events or volunteer activities, you’ll have more buy-in from your staff. And, if you choose more than one charity to support, you’ll have more opportunities to find an organization that your employees also consider important.
• Build it into your day. Allow employees to take time off so they can donate their efforts to the nonprofits your company has chosen to support. Or, treat employees with a free lunch or day off if they raise a certain amount for your charity each month or quarter.
• Host regular events. Whether it’s asking for volunteers to donate their time or planning events to raise money from the general public, having a regular schedule builds a rapport with the charity of your choice and with the community it serves. It also takes the pressure off you and your staff to try to meet a monumental goal at the end of the year when you’re competing against other charities and the holiday gift-buying season.
Ways to Promote Your CSR
Once you do find a charity or several charities that align with your values and ideals, you can start using your free and paid-for public events to develop content. This way, your customers know where you stand and how they can get involved, too.
These include the following:
• Promoting your charity on your website. Write frequent blogs about why the charity you’ve chosen is important and provide easy ways to donate straight from your site.
• Tag these charities on your social media. Mention the charities you support throughout the year on your social media channels or boost their own social media accounts to build a following.
• Allow your customers to join in. Whether you’re raising money or gathering up a group to volunteer, always include ways in which your customers can join in. You can promote these events by including the information on the bottom of your home service invoices, setting up donation sites or providing links on your website or on social media.
Let Your Real Motives Shine Through
Finally, don’t let marketing be the only reason you give back to your community. Customers will see through this ploy and will be turned off by blatant self-promotion.
In the not-so-distant past, it may have been considered “gauche” to advertise your plumbing company’s charitable giving or your HVAC business’s volunteerism. However, polls now show that younger generations want to do business with companies that demonstrate they are giving back to society.
Surveys have shown that as many as 75 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a company that supports environmental, social or governance causes (https://pwc.to/3YJF2XP). In other words, younger generations want to hear about your giving.
However, they also want your company’s giving to be honest and not simply a marketing tactic.
Use your charitable activities to tell a story. Show photos of the events you’ve hosted and share stories about what your donations mean to the people you’ve helped.
By consistently promoting the charity and its goals, volunteering your time and sharing those results, you are boosting the charity and those it helps, and not only your business.
Remember to promote your company’s good deeds in ways designed to help the charity more than pat yourselves on the back. The result is a win-win for both the charity and the positive reputation your company will build.