Giving is a Business Matter

by | Mar 26, 2015

Let’s talk about how giving can be an important part of the WHY of buying. Author Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy or give to WHAT you do or HOW you do it, they buy or give to WHY you do it.” Once you open this door and include giving in your WHY you need to know the HOW.

In a recent article I reflected on three companies, each philanthropic minded – Newman’s Own, Target and locally owned Mentoring Minds. In “The Business of Doing Good”  I talk about different ways a business can include giving in their work – in their core mission. Here I add the HOW with four takeaways from my time working with companies of various sizes – five employees to hundreds of employees – sole proprietors, family owned and corporations. Yes it becomes more complex with size, but the basics remain the same.

Leadership, planning and employees – each one important in the matter of business giving. Two of the three can take your company to a position of significance. All three can provide a level of marketing and community influence that no amount of advertising will ever do.

A business’s philanthropy can precede them in the marketplace. Here’s how to make it matter.

Leadership Matters

In every case the owner, CEO or leadership team has been involved from the beginning.  Identifying the right people to be a part of the conversation is critical. The leadership of a business must want giving to be a part of what they are known for in the community – local, national or beyond. There are many decisions that must be made, almost always requiring sign-off at the highest levels. One of the most important decisions is how much to give. Will it be pre-tax, after-tax, 1% to 5% of profit? There are many questions for which there is no right answer, merely the one that is best for your business now.

Planning Matters

Giving can be a one-time event or it can become a part of your mission. It can become the extra your company is known for, like Target, known not just for its tag line “Expect More. Pay Less,” but also for a giving focus on education. Bullseye, their long-time mascot bull terrier frequently shows up at charity events. But none of that is possible without planning. How much, how often, areas of focus, who should be involved, who makes final decisions – the answers to these and other questions will determine the kind of giving program right for your business.

Planning is a key to organizing the giving process from start to finish so that it accomplishes your business goals from employee involvement to appropriate publicity.

Employees Matter

Unless your business is only you employees are your life-blood, often your life-line to the community. Whether few or many, size is merely a factor in what you do, how you do it, perhaps even when you do it.  Research suggests workplace morale improves when businesses encourage employees to participate in the community. Creating a giving program that involves employees creates an avenue for them to feel they’re making a difference. That’s a double win for any business; employees involved in the community increases your business’s presence.

Your Business Matters

Research by the Nielson Global Survey indicates we are willing to pay extra for products and services produced by companies committed to positive impact. The percentage increases every year. Today’s consumers are interested in value plus. Let your giving define the plus.

It isn’t difficult to cultivate the philanthropic spirit in your company. It is a commitment. If you haven’t had a discussion with employees about company giving start now. Answer Simon Sinek’s question WHY. It bears repeating, “People don’t buy or give to WHAT you do or HOW you do it, they buy or give to WHY you do it.”

Email me about your business or toot your business horn and share your experience with giving. We’d love to hear it.


  1. Marcia Garrett

    Dawn, in our company we have engaged giving by our skills, talents and time…
    We are a construction company that cares about our local community and give into the world of nonprofit by giving of your service to build a better tomorrow. This allows all people of all ranges and types of people that work in our company to give back to our community and effect change/improving life for others. It is very tangible and something ‘the whole’ can be a part of…sometimes even including family members! It isn’t by giving directly with $s but the act of servant hood!

  2. Cathy Krafve

    Dawn, as always your insight is just the encouragement I need today. What a terrific article made credible by the life and experience of the author!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *