Most businesses have heard that charitable giving and volunteer work should be used in their marketing plans in order to generate more returns. There is truth to this sentiment, but also pitfalls companies need to seriously consider before becoming involved in charitable marketing.
It Supports a Good Cause
Philanthropic efforts by corporate entities have done much good around the world, from supporting education to advancing research into cures for deadly illnesses. There is no denying that doing the right thing feels good and makes a real difference, no matter how small that difference might be. Companies can and should leverage their wealth to help those in need.
It Generates Revenue
Company involvement with charity can signal to customers that a particular company’s values line up with their own. Customers are then usually more likely to give the business their patronage, thereby growing the company’s bottom line. The reason many companies combine marketing with philanthropy is because it works.
It Brings the Business Closer to the Community
Making appearances at charitable events is an excellent way for businesses to integrate themselves into the communities that sustain them. It serves as a way for a business to give back to their surrounding communities by providing help to people who need it locally. Businesses that become fixtures in their local communities are likely to last much longer and be held in higher regard.
It Distracts from Bigger Issues
Corporate philanthropic efforts are more often than not a drop in the bucket compared to the magnitude of a problem. These efforts can even be viewed as damaging the concept that a society needs to support common institutions that fix problems. For example, when Domino’s Pizza began paving potholes, many were upset by the fact that a pizza company was doing so rather than addressing the issues of paying workers too little and not paying enough taxes so roads can be maintained.
It Can Go Wrong
Companies can easily begin looking like they are using a charitable cause to grow their bottom line without actually caring about the cause itself. This perception often happens because companies do not appear to reflect the cause in their policies or values normally. This can lead to a negative public reaction that can significantly harm any company’s PR.