Earlier this week, NBA player, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Lebron James, launched his ‘I Promise’ school in Akron, OH. Lebron credits his experiences and successes with being brought up in the city. He also knows the hardships that the students in the area face on a daily basis, which compelled him to start the school.
Lebron, along with other entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have continuously shown the importance of giving back as entrepreneurs.
Often times, millennial entrepreneurs, especially in the beginning stages of their businesses, do not consider the importance of charity. However, there are many benefits to both your community and your business when you make the conscious decision to give back.
Depending on your finances, causes close to your heart and even the basic objectives of your organization, there are many different ways you and your business can partake in philanthropic initiatives.
1 Financially Partner With a Local Organization – Finding that your business has been pretty successful in the last fiscal year? Donate some of that money to a non-for-profit organization in areas close to you. It can be health related, focused on empowerment or faith based. In countries like Canada, individuals and companies receive donate receipts for financial donations which can then be used as a credit come tax time. Organizations like ‘Because I Am A Girl’ as well as the Covenant House are always in need of financial donations.
2 Volunteer Your Time – Volunteering your time with local charities or organizations is a wonderful way for your company to give back. To ensure your entire company really understands the importance of this, find a local organization that all of your employees believe in and have them all volunteer for the day.
3 In Kind Donations – Donate products to local shelters, orphanages or international organizations. People in need are always looking for items such as food, clothing and even art supplies. Donating items related to your business that you may not need or can afford to give away will make a great difference. Companies’ like The Cupcake Boutique in Accra have committed to philanthropy through donating cakes to local orphanages.
4 Tie Incentives to Your Product or Service – There is a millennial-run apparel company based out of Toronto, Canada called Peace Collective which makes apparel that promotes the city and nation. They are also committed to donating $4 from the purchase of each garment to Breakfast for Learning, which helps feed a Canadian child two healthy meals and a snack. Tying an incentive to your services or products allows you to give back and creates a sense of community, commitment and responsibility to your customers as well.
5 Offer Free or Discounted Services – Does your entrepreneurial venture focus on service related aspects like cooking, art, or sport? Offering free services through a non-for-profit program or even giving free services are a great way to contribute to your local community. Entrepreneur and NBA player-manager, Randy Osei recently started a shoe and book drive for kids in Ghana and held a basketball camp in the country to teach them skills related to the sport.
The most important thing to remember when seeking to tie philanthropy into your organization’s culture is the importance of authenticity. Customers and local organizations know when entrepreneurs and businesses are giving back for the sake of popularity. Find a cause your truly care about, commit your time and resources to these spaces and watch both your business and the world around you benefit from it.
Have any suggestions for ways to give back? Share them with us!