As you work with your favorite bookkeeper or tax professional this season, you’ll likely go over any charitable contributions your company made in 2012. And you’ll probably kick yourself when you realize you could’ve done more and been rewarded with not only financial savings, but also the feeling of satisfaction in making a difference in your community.
In 2013 we encourage you to seek out a local 501(c)(3) organization that has synergy with both your core values and corporate objectives. Next, decide how best to involve your organization with the charity. Perhaps you have excess or obsolete inventory that makes sense to donate (i.e. clothing, food, furniture). But, remember, the charity must use the property in the intended manner. They must use it for caring for the ill, the financially needy or infants, and cannot sell the property. Make sure to discuss this course of action in advance with your bookkeeper or accountant to make sure it falls within the parameters of the tax code.
If your organization is service (and not product) oriented, then perhaps you sponsor events for the 501(c)(3). A tax-deductible sponsorship offers a platform to, not only do good things in the community, but to also gain acknowledgement of your generosity. After all, if you’re going to do good, you might as well capitalize on it – that just makes you a savvy business person.
How might you go about that after choosing your charity to sponsor? Marketing and social media.
Toot your own horn! Sponsor local events and talk about it via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, your monthly newsletter, blog etc. Guest lecture at local universities and then engage with the students. And then talk about that on your social platforms. Also, get your employees backing the cause and participating.
Host a “day of giving back”, ideally during an event your company is sponsoring. The employees donate their time; you’re donating money which will come with various forms of brand recognition on the charity’s website, advertising, social media, event t-shirts and posters, brochures, media coverage, etc. You can also document your corporate involvement with photos and videos of your employees making a difference. You’ll reap the benefits of a Facebook-happy society that loves to share their every move on the World Wide Web.
The more people see you actively participating in the community, the bigger your brand becomes. Perception is reality. People want to work with people they like and trust. And Austinites especially love to keep business local, so make strides in your community and the financial benefits will follow.