Everyday people form the backbone of charitable giving in the USA, but business is a driving force behind that, with the National Philanthropic Trust finding that charitable business assets totaled $85bn. A clear sign of the importance US corporations place on philanthropy, these numbers only increase as foundations like the Gates’ influence smaller companies. What, exactly, motivates business to give money away to those less fortunate?
Brand and reputation are linked to charity but that’s not the only reason. It seems counterintuitive also to give money away freely, so money might not be the benefit. Instead, look at the stories of philanthropy, and how they inspire social change; in the end, everyone is benefited, including the business. Small business can get involved, too.
Spreading charity into the arts
A key way that businesses can help to invigorate and inspire the local community is through arts sponsorship. The arts have long been a platform for social change, and by co-opting, businesses can do their own brand a benefit – a positive, for sure – but more importantly, be seen to champion worthwhile causes.
Philanthropists are no strangers to the benefits of investing in art, and 12 of the top 50 arts donors are from big business. Investor Erik H. Gordon has lauded this approach, suggesting that those better off should use the film industry to help promote worthy causes. Advocacy of this nature can bring socially isolated people back into the mainstream, creating a more talented workforce.
In your local area, this could be generated through sponsoring local plays, providing extra funds and encouragement for local projects and plays.
Upskilling the local community
Job obsoletion is a big driver of poverty and related social challenges. With automation likely to remove yet thousands more jobs, there are groups of people who are not digitally native that face problems obtaining decent employment.
A great example of how business philanthropy will improve their prospects along with the business is the new Google org scheme. The sole focus of their latest investment is to upskill workers with modern and relevant digital skills, in order to enable them to provide skills to the workforce. The upshot of this is, again, that your business will have a greater selection of talent for a longer period.
Small business can get involved here, too – why not offer free skill sessions in your craft to local people?
Tackling poverty – long-term
The long-term aim of social cause charitable giving is to eliminate the root cause of those problems – poverty. Poverty causes a huge range of issues, from poor education, to violence, to infant mortality. As Forbes has outlined, charity is a path out of poverty for many. Where businesses can affect long-term and real change in their local communities, they will be upskilling, preserving and enhancing the quality of those disadvantaged people.
Business can improve their own reputation and sales line through altruism. What many don’t realize is that the long-term, holistic benefits of philanthropy run far deeper. By looking to influence widespread social change through the arts, combating poverty and providing skills to locals, businesses can guarantee their own longevity and that of the communities they call home.