Marketers: How to Get the Most Out of Your Charitable Contributions

With the holiday season upon us, charitable contributions and promotional giveaways can become common place across Instagram and other social media platforms. Cross promotion and collaborations are an effective way to reach a larger target audience and can be a great way to get more eyes on your product. But where do you draw the line as a brand contributing to a charitable cause? How much product should you provide for free? Or should you just donate cash? Who sets the expectations? What return do you see? Each of these questions needs to be considered before you, a smart marketer, jump into a charitable cause.

It goes without saying that the bigger the brand, and the more capital the brands has, the easier these decisions will be. Unfortunately, we can’t all be major players in the consumer branding industry. So, for the other 99% of brands, here are some simple rules to follow to get the most out of your charitable contributions and generous spirit this holiday season.

Target Market: Align with a charity that fits with your target market.

This is probably the most important rule for any brand, at all times. With the constant influx of sponsored content and influencer marketing saturating consumers social channels, it is so easy for your brand to get lost in the shuffle. This especially holds true when your brand is being shown to an audience that is not your target market. You will be disregarded in the blink of an eye as you are of no interest or relevance to that group of consumers.

We have priceless seconds available to capture the attention of a consumer in today’s market and donating to a charity that does not align with your target is a complete waste of your time and money. In order to know that you’re making the right decision, ask the charity for their demographics and marketing data and see if it is a similar match to yours. If it’s not, it is okay to respectfully decline the charity’s request for you to make a donation and find a better alternative for your brand.

Photo by Carlos Muza

Learn how charities define their target markets 

Branding: Make sure your logo and branding is visible on any product you donate.

Donations can happen in one of two ways: monetary or in-kind/product. The obvious downside to cash is the fact that you will not be reaching any new customers and getting more brand awareness for your business, like you would be through the donation of product. Short of donating a huge lump sum at an event in front of thousands of people on a giant check, it is unlikely you will receive any relevant amount of recognition for cash contributions.

So, how do you get the most out of your product donation? Step one is to make sure your logo and branding is visible and on point. Step two is to make sure your product is useful and appeals to the target market of that charity/organization.

Photo by Hermes Rivera

What You Need to Know About Tax Deductions for Charitable Donations in the USA

Depending on what industry you’re in, and if your brand makes tangible products or not, this may need a bit more brainstorming for some over others. For brands that don’t already have a tangible product, you can create something for a specific donation that is geared towards the audience and you have the opportunity to make it something people will continue to use after the event. Maybe it’s a water bottle, drawstring backpack, or skipping rope.

Charity Receipts: Make sure you get one.

This rule is plain and simple. Don’t make a donation unless you are getting a charitable tax receipt. This will benefit you twofold:

  1. It will allow you save money when it comes to your taxes as charitable donations are tax deductible to a certain amount.
  2. It will protect you and enforce the fact that the charity and charitable cause isn’t fraudulent or fake.

Giving to a Canadian charity? Learn who can issue official donation receipts, what types of gifts qualify, how to donate wisely, and how to avoid fraud here

All in all, it can be great exposure and enhance your brands reputation when you make a conscious choice to help others and contribute to a charitable cause. By following these few simple rules, you will ensure that you are getting the most of your company dollars and hopefully you will see some new customers and loyal followers through the process.

Photo by Fabian Blank


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Laura is a fitness and lifestyle blogger of My Sweat Story. Find her on Instagram @misslauradavidson. Laura is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.