HOW TO DO GOOD & MAKE MONEY
Laura Probst is the Principal at Do Good. Make Money., a consulting firm that helps companies, causes and individuals do well by doing good. She shares with us her thoughts about business and philanthropy.
You help major brands partner with charities or create a philanthropic arm to their brand; how did you create this very niche business? I got really clear on what I wanted to do. I told everyone who would listen what I wanted to do, and the story of my “aha” moment while working in South Africa when I realized that if you can make doing good make sense for a business, then they will be glad to do more of it. I also told them who my ideal clients were, both specific brands I would most like to work with and the characteristics of the clients I was looking for generally. Putting all those details out into the world brought the right work my way, and when I got opportunities, I did my very best to make them great success stories.
What are the benefits to companies in having a philanthropic component? Customers expect businesses to give back, and want to support companies that make them feel good. Not everyone can volunteer at a soup kitchen or be a Big Sister or Big Brother. But everyone can buy products and services that also make the world better and that reflect the change we want to see in the world. When price and quality are equal, having a philanthropic element to your products can be the tie-breaker for many consumers. Same goes for employers – talent, especially younger talent, want to work for companies that stand for something bigger, and that make them feel alive, connected and important, like they are making a difference. So having a philanthropic component to your business can also help you recruit and retain top talent.
Is this only the realm of major brands, or is there a benefit for small businesses to have a philanthropic element? Every brand, large and small, should think about what they are doing to give back in the community. Having a giving strategy and a clearly defined plan helps create a strong company mission, unify employees, attract customers, and generate buzz and attention.
What steps could a small business take to find a philanthropic partner or create a philanthropic strategy for their brand? Always start with your business goals: who is the audience for your products/services and what do they care about? What are your company’s unique assets and core strengths? How can you offer these to relevant communities, to solve issues that your target audience most cares about? How is that different from your competitors? What ROI do you want to get from this strategy? These are all key questions for creating a philanthropic strategy.
Do you have examples to share of businesses (large or small, or both!) that have successfully implemented a philanthropic component? So many! Check out Dermalogica’s joinFITE program; this is a great example of a brand that has benefited greatly from strategically focusing its philanthropy and tying it to core business strengths and goals. TOMS is a huge purpose-driven success story.
Image: [Join FITE]