Give Back to Get Back

With the end of the year fast approaching, most of us are setting up our budgets for 2018 and weighing what to invest in and what to cut back on.

At my landscaping company, one area we’re taking a good hard look at is where we’re spending our philanthropic dollars. Not because we plan on cutting back but because we want to make sure we’re optimizing our efforts. We’d love to be able to give to every good cause but obviously we can’t do that and remain a profitable business too.

So how do you decide whom to give to and whom to politely decline? How do you make the most of your gifts so that they support your business objectives too?

Be strategic. Now is the time to decide how much to allocate for charitable giving in your budget and to select whom you’ll support in the year ahead. Then you have to stick to it. This will save you from reflexively responding to all the requests that come your way and making any number of small one-off gifts that lack the impact strategic giving can have.

Choose organizations that align with your business objectives. Give where your clients and prospects are. At Grunder Landscaping, we support the athletic associations of our local schools because our clients’ and prospects’ kids and grandkids play on those teams. We support arts institutions because our ideal clients and prospects frequent them. We support the Humane Society because pet owners have big yards we want to work in.

Make in-kind gifts. Donate landscaping goods and services to help build an outdoor classroom or improve the grounds of the local theater. Set aside one day a year for you and your team to volunteer at a nonprofit. These are great ways to give back while demonstrating to the local community the quality of your work and the professionalism of your team.

Let the word get out. Take every opportunity organizations offer to recognize your gifts in their promotional materials and find ways to highlight your charitable giving in your own marketing collateral. You earned the good publicity; use it.