*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal, financial or tax advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor. *
The best way to keep your spirits bright during a not-quite-normal holiday season? Doing good for others. One silver lining this year has been seeing communities pull together to help others, from delivering groceries to a neighbour to donating to a social justice cause.
Being philanthropic isn’t just good for the recipient, it’s also good business. In fact, according to a survey from the Greg Secker Foundation, 54 percent of respondents think businesses should be required to give to charity by law, while 43 percent would have a more favourable view of a company that gave 5 percent of its annual profits to charity.
As we head into the holiday season, you might be wondering how small businesses can make a big impact. The great news is that every donation adds up.
Here are some holiday charity campaigns to try and tips to help your business do good this holiday season.
Choose a cause mindfully
You’ll be more engaged if you choose a cause you’re passionate about. Trendy holiday charity ideas that might have caught your attention from recent buzz won’t have as big an impact if you lose interest. Choose one that resonates with you and your customers on a deeper level. It could be something related to COVID-19 relief, a cause you’ve supported in the past, or one that has evergreen appeal.
Your cause should align with your mission and your audience. For example, if you mostly sell to parents, a children’s charity may be a good fit. If you focus on sustainably sourced products, find an eco-friendly charity.
No matter which holiday charity campaign you choose, research before committing by comparing charities on sites like Charity Clarity or GiveWell.
Engage with customers to help pick your cause
You might find it difficult to pick only one organisation, but you don’t have to do it alone. Getting your customers involved in the decision can deepen both their loyalty to your brand and their commitment to your charitable endeavours.
Create an Instagram post or a web page that describes a variety of causes and invite their input to find the best charities to partner with. Use facts to illustrate the “what” of the cause, combined with an emotional appeal that tells the “why,” and let your customers vote on which one they think you should support.
You can build anticipation with a countdown clock and a big reveal of your holiday season charitable partner, perhaps on Black Friday or Giving Tuesday. Alternatively, you can spread the love by having a “Charity of the Week” where customers can give their holiday charity donations throughout the shopping season.
Whichever you choose, you’ll want to promote your campaign with custom email marketing and social media posts to keep your audiences apprised of progress. Remember when contacting customers to make sure you always adhere to the relevant rules around data protection, GDPR and ePrivacy.
Align with established holiday celebrations
Speaking of social media, why not align your holiday charity ideas with events that already have a following? For example, on #GivingTuesday, consumers traditionally focus on the charitable aspects of the season, making it the ideal time to promote holiday charity campaigns by holding a special event or sale. Perhaps pledge to match contributions or donate a percentage of profits from certain items to a designated charity.
If you decide on a charity with an eco-friendly focus, aim to pull out all the stops on #GreenMonday. While the celebration might have its origins in the desire to make “green,” or money, over the years it has gained momentum as a day when brands also tout eco-friendly practices or products. You can generate holiday charity donations links at your online checkout to give customers the opportunity to contribute to the cause of your choice.
Offer a variety of ways for customers to participate
There are multiple ways your business can find the best holiday charities and donate to a great cause. The most obvious method is making a flat donation, but you can further connect with your customers by inviting them to participate.
Consumers gravitate towards purchasing items that offer a greater social benefit, so donating a percentage of your profits often inspires them to spend more. Designate certain items that trigger a donation or create a donation campaign where you match their contributions up to a certain amount.
For example, you might donate 10 percent of the profits from all outerwear to a homeless shelter or suggest that customers add holiday charity donations as they make their purchases.
Volunteering usually requires taking physical action or offering personal service—from pitching in at a food bank to participating in a charity run. The need to physically distance this season doesn’t necessarily mean you have to forgo volunteer efforts. Whatever holiday charity ideas you have, move them to the virtual space and invite your customers and community to join in spreading holiday cheer.
If you normally wrap and deliver presents for a kids’ charity, set up a virtual wrapping party by creating an event web page with details on your virtual project. As an example, the Toy Project accepts referrals for those in need and delivers new toys to children for Christmas and special occasions.
Other virtual holiday charity ideas could include making cards or decorations for hospitals or senior homes. Post a supply list on your website, create and mail kits, or invite a local artisan to lead a live-streamed workshop. Encourage participants to post pictures and details of their efforts on social media to underscore your commitment to the charity and further build your relationship with your customers.
Whether you choose to donate time, money, or a combination this holiday season, including holiday charity campaigns to your marketing will be welcomed by your customers.