Why Giving Back Should Be Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

by | Aug 22, 2023 10:15:00 AM | Marketing Operations and Execution

Win-win scenarios are common in healthy business relationships. The producer of a good or service benefits when they make a sale to a customer. The customer then benefits from acquiring what was offered.

However, the opportunity exists to turn these win-wins into a string of wins by adding additional value that benefits you, your chosen charity, and the cause they support. This happens when you integrate corporate philanthropy into your marketing.  

Corporate philanthropy tends to fall into one of three categories:  

  1. Those who give and don’t want any recognition. 
  2. Those that are ok with recognition after giving, but the recognition is not very important to them.
  3. Those who have a heart for giving and they want others to know it. 

Let’s break down these three types of corporate philanthropy trends, and why corporate giving should always be a part of your marketing strategy.

The Three Types of Corporate Philanthropy Trends

The first type of giver is considered the “quiet giver.” It may be that they don’t want to open the doors for a flood of donation and sponsorship requests. More often, the person making the final decision believes in giving without fanfare.

The second type is the “understated giver.” These companies provide volunteers and money to help charitable organizations meet their goals. They are often event sponsors, gaining some recognition, but ultimately are only one of many. You might see their name on the back of kids’ sports jerseys, or a sign at the golf tournament. You know they are there, but people aren’t really talking about them. 

Finally, there is the “unapologetic and authentic giver.” This person has decided that giving is great and there are benefits to being public about it. They know that sharing the things they value will attract employees and customers that care about the same things. By featuring their charitable partnerships in their marketing channels they are signaling to everyone what they believe to be important. 

Practically speaking, charities don’t really care which type of giver you are. Any dollars that come through the doors are incredibly welcome. Yet in those moments when they can breathe and take a look around, many of them wish they had a partner to work with. 

Partnerships with nonprofits are where the vocal givers live. These partnerships create win-win-win scenarios. The chosen charities, the issue that the charity supports, and the company all benefit. Marketing’s involvement makes those wins happen.  

Including charitable giving within your marketing strategy creates partnerships. Those partnerships create value beyond donations and sponsorships alone. A vibrant partnership, built within your marketing strategy, can make everyone’s story reach farther.  


Marketing’s Double Duty

Too many charities don’t put enough resources into marketing for it to be effective. There is a perception in the general public that when charities invest in marketing, they are squandering donor dollars. Many of their donors don’t understand how important storytelling and awareness are to the success of any charity. 

This environment creates conditions that are just right for a corporate partner to step in. Everyone expects the for-profit business to advertise, after all!

Unfortunately, many of the expectations that people put on charitable organizations are actually detrimental to charity. If you really want to dig into how society tries to solve some of the world’s hardest problems while hamstringing the organizations and people that really want to help, we recommend reading Dan Polatta’s book; Uncharitable.

By incorporating your charitable partners into your marketing, you are providing them with additional tools to help grow their resources. One of the most common questions within a charity is, “How do we grow our donor base?” The answer should be marketing, but it usually isn’t. 

Telling the charity's story is a vital component of its success. Charitable organizations and their programs depend on people understanding what they do and why they do it. Most companies have the expertise and ability to tell good stories. Working together, the charity gets more value than your dollar donations. More people will learn and hopefully join the cause you believe in. And your donation turns into a business expense. All while the good work you want to see continues, too.


Sharing the Load (And What You Value)

Making lasting and meaningful changes is at the core of every charity. To do this, they need resources — money, mostly, and also volunteers. When a business incorporates its charitable giving goals into its marketing, it signals to others that an issue is important and needs attention. 

When your company makes a corporate donation, it's an investment. It's an investment that says, “Helping to fix this problem is more important than profit.” 

If you’re willing to make that statement, incorporating charitable giving into your marketing is telling the world, “Join us, we can fix this!” Your charitable partnerships are good news. Share the good news and help persuade others to join with you.

Something that many business owners miss is the opportunity to use their charitable giving as a way to attract people who value the same things they do. This can be an invaluable tool when it comes to hiring and retaining employees in a tight labor market.

Many job candidates are often faced with many opportunities. The labor market is tight, and competition for the best people is fierce. Many companies are stacking their offers with higher salaries and better benefits.

Attracting people through the social initiatives your company supports doesn’t add a dime to your attraction and retention strategies, but can mean the difference between landing or missing out on the ideal candidate. 

At the end of the day, do you want the new employee who signs on because you offer $1 more per hour or the one that accepts the job because they believe in the culture and the causes you care about, too?


Celebrate the Wins (It’s Not Bragging!)

At some point, your charitable partners should be able to report back to you on how your donations were used. That's another opportunity to tell the story of your partnership. 

When you help move the needle on important issues in society, be proud of it. Use your social media and website to share the good work that the charity is doing along with your role. The truth is, in most cases, they wouldn’t have been able to succeed or get as far as they did without your help. 

By publicly celebrating the results of your partnership, you’re creating a story of success for that charity as well. This will help them find more donors, become more effective at their mission, and lead to growth in their capacity. This leads to creating even greater change and positive impact. It will result in more of what you wanted in the first place. 

If you’d like to see an example of how a few companies do this, check out Carnevale.co/op, Kentwood Cares, and KT Cares.  


Get Your Marketing Team Involved

The opportunity to multiply the good your corporate donation can do is out there. 

Engaging your marketing can feel like a big step. If your company has always been a “quiet giver,” shifting to a more vocal strategy often feels uncomfortable at first. But once you see the wins and the results that go beyond your financial support, this will pass. Celebrating your organization for doing the right thing is great for morale, too. 

Ultimately, it's not about you. In the end, engaging your marketing department is about creating extra value beyond the dollar amount which allows your charitable partner to do more. 

At 1 Bold Step, we support a number of local initiatives and celebrate them through our social media. You can find the list of projects that we support as a company on our website. But we also empower and support our employees to use their talents and expertise to help the charities that they love, as well.

If you’d like to learn more about the marketing issues that are at the top of our minds, please subscribe to the 1 Bold Step blog.

About 1 Bold Step

At 1 Bold Step we believe that everything can be more efficient, but especially marketing. Acting as an extension of a client’s marketing department (onsite or virtually), we help create systems, order, and accountability. With a focus on increasing sales and proving return on marketing investment, we’re determined to change marketing from overhead to value add. 


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