Doing Good With Your Marketing Budget

Doing Good With Your Marketing Budget

As we try to imagine what the next few months will bring for our businesses, one thing seems certain – finances are tight, and we will want to make sure that we get great value for every dollar we spend. We’re watching with concern as the current crisis affects our communities, too, both locally and farther from home. Rather than focusing inward, consider focusing outward instead – how do we get through this, together?

Engaging Customers To Help You Do Good

A girl helping her little brother up after he fell on a log.

There are a lot of ways to give to charity right now, and if you’re doing that already as part of your business’s commitment to giving back to your community, you want to highlight the good work you’re doing to your customers and employees. Or maybe you’re not giving currently, but you see many other businesses doing it, and are wondering about the value, and if you can find room in your budget to do something similar.

We want any marketing we do to be highly effective, both to make the best use of scarce resources and to stand out from similar-sounding marketing.

Standard Giving Model

How are businesses approaching corporate charitable donations?

One common approach is to give a fixed percentage, either of the overall purchases (often limited to purchases made on a specific day or other period of time) or of all purchases for a single item (sometimes also limited by time). This approach lets your customers set the overall dollar amount of your contribution – the more they buy, the more you donate. It has the benefit of being easy to calculate the effect on your bottom line, because it’s directly tied to your profit margin for the item or time period.

Another popular method is to set a fixed amount (sometimes based on overall profits from a prior quarter or year), make that donation, and have a section of your website that explains your company’s values and how the donation ties in to them. The benefit here is that you can set the dollar amount to whatever is appropriate for your business.

The first approach tends to make customers feel more directly connected to the donation, while the second is easier for you to tie to your ongoing marketing and promotional efforts, especially if it is generally part of a broader Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

Delegated Giving Model

How can you stand out from other businesses that are also trying to promote their charitable efforts? And what is a good way to quickly add a charitable component to your business, even in a time of great economic stress?

A little empathy can go a long way – as many people deal with layoffs, furloughs, and financial uncertainty, they may want to help but not have the means to do so. And right now, they may be reluctant to make purchases that would drive donations under the standard giving model.

Hand holding a coin icon.Equitry’s delegated giving provides a way to stand out by putting donations in your customers’ hands – they don’t have to contribute their own money, but they can get a boost from directing funds to a charity that they choose from your pre-selected list. This sense of agency makes the donation feel more personal and the warm glow from making it casts your business in a good light as well – a version of the “halo effect” that helps you to get additional value from your donation by associating your business with the charitable contribution.

When times improve and they are in a better financial position, your customers will still have a positive feeling about your business, so your money works harder for you – you’re giving back to your community while also getting solid marketing value for your donations.

By delegating your business’s charitable contributions, your customers are much more actively engaged in the process. Active engagement is key to building and maintaining an ongoing relationship between your business and your customers, and letting your marketing dollars do double duty is one smart way to get more value from them while doing significant good in the world.