Consider this a virtual toast from me to you, friend–you’ve made it! You’re an entrepreneur, and a thriving one. You’re making a living by doing what you love. What could be better? If you’re anything like me, your to-do list is a mile long (welcome to small business), but there’s one critical addition you may be missing. In between “optimize systems,” “hire a virtual assistant,” and “remember to drink water,” you should pencil in your strategy to give back.
Turns out, the world’s leading brands place a premium on good citizenship. Think about the entrepreneurs and organizations that set the pace for giving back; Not only do they stand by what they do, but they make the world a better place while they do it. Amen and amen. Why not count yourself among them? Not only will you feel good about what you’re doing, but your business will thrive because of it. From one entrepreneur to another: Giving back could be the tactic your marketing strategy is missing. Keep reading to see what I mean! Bookmark this page for tips and resources that’ll help you figure out how to give back, improve your community, and build a values-driven business as an entrepreneur.
Giving back is good for business
When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle. If you’ve put philanthropy on the backburner, you’re not alone. No judgments here! Before I say anything else, this post isn’t intended to call you out. It’s meant to call you in.
Giving back is important and absolutely worth your time…promise! Not only does it give you a chance to connect with your community, but it also helps to build your brand. Today, more people are looking for businesses that have a purpose beyond just making money. These days, it’s no longer enough to open wallets by doing well–you have to do good, too.
If you make philanthropy part of your business strategy from day one, your clients will see that in everything you do—and feel confident knowing that when they spend their money with you, they’re supporting causes they care about. It’s a time honored recipe that makes for strong bonds between businesses and customers. Bonds like these are crucial for growth.
Every thriving business is driven by a sense of purpose, and giving back can provide this in a way that extends beyond the walls of your company. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Being true to your mission and protecting your energy
Welcome to Build Your Business 101. Today’s assignment: Identify what matters most to you, both personally and professionally. Entrepreneurs often focus on smarter systems and scaling strategies right out of the gate when they've overlooked an essential step that ensures long-term success: What are your values? How would you like to change the world? How can your business help make it happen? What’s your why? Take it from me: Your energy will be better spent on a high-impact cause that aligns with your values than it will be chasing after shiny objects.
Because you’re an entrepreneur, you’re no stranger to thinking big, but don’t ignore simpler ways of giving back—for example, think about volunteering your time at local parks and gardens if your business celebrates nature, sustainability, and going green. Remember, there’s no shame in starting small. It’s often the little gestures that make the greatest impact.
Whatever your vision is, your mission should drive you every day. From early morning until late at night, keep in mind what matters most: the impact your business has on others and how much of a difference it can make for good.
Aligning your ideals with causes your ideal clients care about
Giving back is a powerful way to connect with your ideal clients on a deeper level as a small business owner. Now that you’ve defined what matters to you, it’s time to find common ground with the clients you’re excited to work with. There’s a happy medium between the stuff that fires you up and the causes your dreamboat clients care about. Chances are, your visions for the world have more in common than you might’ve thought.
By combining your personal passions with your professional goals, you can find creative ways to share about causes that are important to you—and build loyalty from customers who feel connected and inspired by what you’re doing. And best of all? According to Forbes, your clients have become more socially conscious than ever before. Welcome to the driving force of the 21st century economy, where people are buying with their values more than ever before. In fact, 82% of millennials consider it extremely or very important that businesses give back. They want to open their wallets for companies that focus on values beyond profits; ones that choose to go above and beyond the bottom line…ones that support good causes just because they can. If you’re running a creative business, chances are your work is inspired by something bigger than just money.
The key is getting clear on what matters most and finding ways of aligning with that idea in your business—while making sure it aligns with your clients’ values, too. When in doubt, just ask! Being thoughtful about your conversations is a great way to be a values-driven business owner. If you want to know what matters most to your community, start by asking open-ended questions about the causes they care about. This approach will invite them to open up, engage, and feel seen. Call it market research (and you may discover a new passion you didn’t know you had).
Service over self is key
Here’s the bottom line: Lip service or supporting a cause for clout without real action isn’t giving back at all–it’s just marketing. Giving back is more than just a savvy PR move. Be true in your intentions by asking yourself why you’re showing up in the first place: Are you on a mission to truly help others–and not just boost your bottom line? When you act from a place of service, your passion will always shine through.
Three simple ways to give back in your small business
Remember that list of brand values we made together? Come back to it and think of three organizations that share your vision. Pick the one you feel most aligned with and dive deep. Learn more about the organization and how they further their mission. How do they bolster the cause you care about so deeply? Dedicate a few minutes of your week reading up on how they’re making their mission come to life. You might chat with a representative from the cause or follow along on social media.
2. Once you’ve done your due diligence, start small by donating a percentage of your time, money, or both to the organization you’ve chosen. Make a commitment to donate a portion of every sale, booking, or purchase you make–your clients will feel even better about investing in you than they already did.
3. Create and share content reflecting your involvement with the organization and your commitment to the cause. Whether it’s an Instagram post, a newsletter, or a fundraising campaign, now’s your chance to rise to the occasion. Any business can make promises, but only values-driven businesses keep them. It’s time to walk the walk and show the receipts–it's just the right thing to do!
Take it one step at a time
It's easy to be overwhelmed by how much needs to be done in a social enterprise. Before you start looking for ways you can give back, take it one step at a time and keep things simple. Ask yourself: What can I do right now? What's the biggest thing that’s standing in my way? What are the next steps I can map out today? It may not feel like you’re saving the world, but taking the first step is often the hardest part. You might realize that giving back is easier than you thought.
What we do: Our partnership with 1% For The Planet
Around here, our meaning-making mission doesn’t stop when we shut our laptops. Whether I’m capturing luxurious celebrations in the world’s most exclusive destinations, leading my boutique wedding photography studio, or supporting entrepreneurs with creative legal counsel, my sights are set on a thriving future for us all–and for those yet to come.
For years, our team has been proud to partner with 1% For The Planet, an impact-driven organization that’s inspired companies like ours to give back one percent of profits to causes that benefit the environment.
1% For The Planet is a global movement uniting thousands of businesses around a common goal: to make our world a better, healthier, more sustainable place for all humanity. We’re in good company, alongside other socially-minded enterprises like Patagonia, Boxed Water, Klean Kanteen, and more who have answered the call. For years, we’ve supplied our books and year-end tax reports to ensure transparency in giving our fair share. And while our one percent may look different than yours, we can all do our part and give back to Mother Earth, locally and at scale. So far, we’ve donated thousands of dollars–and that’s some serious change (literally and metaphorically). :)
Thousands have joined us–are you next? Click here to learn more about 1% For The Planet and how you can get involved.