It’s that time of year, when business people everywhere start thumbing through catalogues to select the gifts for their clients. We’d like to suggest you use corporate giving as an opportunity to share your business values and culture. By thinking creatively, you can give gifts to your clients in ways that make a much bigger impact than goodie baskets.
Creative corporate gifts can come in all forms, but we’d like to focus on charitable giving. There are many reasons to incorporate charitable support into your corporate gift giving program:
- Help nonprofit organizations and people in need within the community you do business in
- Improve the reputation and perception of your company
- Get greater exposure for your company, products or services
- Share corporate messaging, values and culture
- Increase networking or leads opportunities
- Receive tax benefits
Clearpoint is a great example. Several years ago, we decided a better use of Clearpoint’s resources would be to support the community while showing appreciation to our clients during the holidays. Instead of giving large and expensive treat baskets to clients, we opt for cards and small boxes of candy as gifts, and use the rest of our gift-giving budget to donate to a charity in all of our clients’ names. We feel good about the change, and clients appreciate it too. Oftentimes, we buy the candy from a local small business or, as is the case this year, from local high school band students. This year, Clearpoint’s holiday giving is: 1) giving delicious treats to our clients, 2) donating to a charity, and 3) supporting a local high school – it’s the trifecta of gift giving!
Charitable giving is such a great opportunity to demonstrate your company’s dedication to a cause or community, and can be a powerful way to create awareness and good will for your organization with external audiences. Your internal audiences will appreciate it too. Supporting a charity is much more motivating for employees than boxes of client gifts that don’t relate to them.
Charitable giving also has its benefits to your tax return. Whether you donate money, products, or services, there is a good chance that a charitable gift can be a corporate write off. Just remember to check with your tax advisor if a gift will qualify as a deduction. A good rule of thumb is to work with nonprofits with the 501(c)(3) designation.
When choosing a charity, look for a cause that matches your corporate culture. If your employees really care about the environment, support an environmentally-conscious charity (Like Clearpoint’s lagoon support). Or match your services to your cause. If you sell sporting equipment, support your local little league team. These small steps go a long way toward expressing who you are as a company.
To get you started, check out our examples: in years past, Clearpoint has supported the San Diego Food Bank, the American Heart Association (AHA), CARE, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). In addition, Charity Navigator is a good website to find a charity, and Wikipedia has a very inclusive list. Good luck, we look forward to seeing more businesses support charitable causes this season and throughout the year!
This post was contributed by Lexy Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive.