Charitable giving is good for business - all 12 months, not just during the holidays.
A 2010 philanthropic study by Cone Communications showed that 85 percent of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about. Ninety percent also responded that they want companies to tell them how they support causes.
Charitable giving and volunteering has also been shown to boost employee morale. First of all, it’s fun (day off to go work with underprivileged kids – who’s in?). Secondly, it gives your business an opportunity to reach out and connect with members of your community on a different platform. And third, there’s the tax deduction.
Not all charities measure up, however. That’s why it’s important to do your research before giving of your time or dollars. A recent study by Hope Consulting, a strategy and analysis firm that specializes in nonprofits, shows that only about 40 percent of donors bother to seek out information before giving.
What should you check for? Start by finding out if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability that address charity governance, finances, effectiveness, fundraising and donor privacy and other issues.
An increasing number of people are doing just that. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance (bbb.org/us/Wise-Giving) saw more than 5 million total hits in 2011 – 1 million of those just in November and December. This is 67 percent more traffic than the 3 million total hits received in 2011.
Also, BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, formerly the BBB Foundation, now reviews local charities in Wyoming and Northern Colorado (wynco.bbb.org/Charity-Reviews).