While the approach of the holiday season tends to amplify people’s charitable efforts, they have the potential to do good all year around. Promoting your ecommerce site with charitable events might seem self-serving on its face, but if you do so with benevolent intent, the charity you choose will benefit just as much as your business does. Rather than making ita one-time thing, why not make philanthropy part of your business plan and help throughout the year, every year?
How to Choose a Cause
The best way to decide upon an organization is to take a look at your company culture, your values statement and the positioning of your business in the minds of your customers. As an example, Zappos.comhas worked with the Goodie Two Shoes Foundationto outfit some 75,000 children with new shoes since 2003. Given Zappos is known for shoes, this is a “perfect fit,” so to speak.
The idea is to find a cause with which you can be organically affiliated, so your participation doesn’t appear forced. To help you find a cause worthy of your support, the Better Business Bureau maintains a National Charity Report Directory.
Your Ecommerce Store Benefits Too
Cultivating an image as a good citizen makes people feel better about spending money with you. Just as you should articulate a unique selling proposition to stand out in the minds of consumers, cultivating an image as a company with a heart makes people respect your brand. In many cases, even if your price is a bit higher than your competitors’, anappreciationof your generous efforts will motivate customers to do business with you just the same.
What’s more, people who are considered pillars of the community tend to be involved in philanthropy. Your association with these individuals has potential advantages as well. And,of course, there are tax deductions from which your business can benefit.
Tasteful Participation Is Key
People know how the world works, so of course they know as positive as your intentions are, your ecommerce site absolutely stands to benefit from your charitable affiliations. Everyone is already aware of this fact, so it’s important to make sure the charity always gets top billing over your business. You can take advantage of templates for free ecommerce websites to set up a micro sitecontaining more information about your charitable foundation or partnership—which you will linkback to your primary site and vice versa.
If you’re starting a foundation to support a particular cause, it’s perfectly OK to incorporate your name, as long as you make sure the work is prominently featured. In almost every instance, sponsors who are subtle about their involvement get more love in the long run. And, whatever you do, make sure your participation is 100 percent genuine. Fraudulent associations are looked upon with considerable disdain in the public’s eye.
Ways to Get Involved
Odds are, you already have a strong social media presence, as well as a vibrant blog in place. These tools can be turned to the assistance of the organization by promoting benefits specifically for your chosen cause. Your PR efforts can include press releases to relevant sites, as well as television, radio and other media outlets. You can donate a percentage of the profit from the sales of certain relevant items. You can mount a matching funds giving campaign, or even solicit outright donations.
Promoting your ecommerce store with charitable events positions you to do some good for people in need and get your name in front of the market in a way that burnishes your image.