The five steps to follow so your small business can start helping charities effectively

Rachel with a cup of tea

I’m very proud of our ‘charity of the year’ approach at Holy Brook as well as the ad hoc work we do for charities.  Because of this I’m often asked by other small business owners about this. This blog post aims to answer this – I’m sharing my 5 steps for how your small business can start helping charities effectively.

Your business is never too small to help a charity – even if you are just getting started, but before you jump in it’s worth taking time to think about it carefully.  This will mean that your chosen charity will get the most out of it, and your business will benefit as well.

I recommend the following 5 simple steps.

Step 1.  Chose a cause to focus on. 

Much as you might like to help save the world in one go, it is likely that to make a real appreciable difference you should focus.  Consider things like what causes you and the rest of your staff team care about, causes that are relevant to your geographical area or link in some way to the work you do.  For example, this year we are partnering with “SmartWorks Reading” who are local to us and help women with interview skills and confidence – something that our team really understand the importance of.

Step 2.  Considers what you have that a charity might need

This may be as simple as a financial donation on a regular basis or linked to a particular activity but don’t neglect in kind help.  It may be that a charity could really benefit from your professional expertise, for example one of our criteria in considering how we partner is if a charity believes they may need help with their accounting systems or bookkeeping.  If you have a meeting space or a high profile on social media both of these could be potentially worth a lot to your charity.

Step 3.  Consider how you might link this to a business goal

Of course you want to help charities because it’s beneficial to them, but it may be worth considering if there are ways you can help which actually link to one of your business objectives.  For example, when we do our client survey we want to encourage people to answer so we commit to making a donation of £1 per response to our charity of the year.  This is a nice way to add to our donations and gives our clients a ‘feel good’ boost as well.

Step 4.  Create an “offer”

Linking step 2 and 3 together to create a draft of the offer you want to make and bring in step 1 to consider the profile of your ideal charity. 

Step 5  Find a partner charity.

If may be that once you’ve done this an obvious charity to partner with springs to mind.  But think outside the obvious.

If you have an organisation like ‘Connect Reading’ operating locally to you they may be worth joining to ensure you are able to reach your goal for charity work and deliver the most value.

Alternatively, you might want to consider a site like ‘whatimpact’ which is effectively a marketplace that allows those businesses and grant-makers to match with charities and social enterprise.

Their goal is to democratise social impact and the way these two groups interact.  

This is a brand-new site launching this month (November 2020).  Companies, grant-makers, social enterprises and charities are all invited to join their new site.  They have developed an algorithm to match organisations based on shared values and goals for the future.

They have written a white paper, which you can read here on how businesses and charities can partner.

In summary let’s say you want to help eradicate homelessness in Berkshire or increase tree cover in Herefordshire – try to find a charity that matches this cause and needs your help:  you’ll both benefit.

More information and help

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