Philanthropy is one of the hallmarks of some of America’s greatest business owners. Reflecting the charitable nature of businessmen from Rockefeller to Gates are the current generation, with millenials accounting for 11% of charity total online in the USA – a stunning $39bn. On average, according to Blackbaud, 81% of millennials give money to charity, totaling $481 over the year.
Millennials who are engrossed in their own startup should consider putting money or incentives aside for philanthropy. The charitable foundations are already there, as the statistics show, and plugging that into your business can help take it to the next level.
The hard facts
Philanthropy may seem quite existential in its benefits. Reputational benefits and a broader client base bring an amount of sales, but can be offset by the costs of charitable giving. However, consider the wider effects. Investor and philanthropist Jason A. Sugarman has advocated the use of philanthropy to benefit the entire community. By putting money into the local community, and driving forward productivity and the wellbeing of those less fortunate, you can help to upskill an entire workforce. A great example of this is in the culinary industry. Through funding entire communities, Forbes have reported that it is possible to enable people to work to a greater standard earlier on in your supply chain, ultimately creating a better end product.
Wide ranging reach and impacts
A study by the Houston Chronicle found that brand is crucial to small business – both in positive and negative terms. A solid brand can increase awareness and consistency, whilst also attracting positive or negative connotations. Well placed business philanthropy can help to develop your brand and develop these connotations. NBC reported this week that the Hewlett Foundation had earmarked funds to drive transparency and development on digital democracy in the USA. This is a great example of how philanthropy towards civil organizations could assist your brand, by putting your business into a positive light throughout the media, and provide crucial flexibility to bridge new markets.
Networking with business
Expanding your business can be difficult when you only operate in similar circles to where you started. For internet startups, despite the wide-ranging nature of the world wide web, this can be a common hitch in the road. Philanthropy, such as co-opting larger schemes or attending charity auctions and galas, gives you the opportunity to network with bigger businesses that you might not otherwise have a window of opportunity with.
Business philanthropy is more than just giving profits away for reputation. Through the reach it gives you in industry and the upskilling of local workers, you can develop your business through the simple act of giving.