There is nothing we love more than a brand on a mission. When you can make a penny and also pass one on, that’s what change-makers are made of.
If you’re at the start of your journey though, you might be asking yourself if now is the right time for giving back or if it’s better to wait until your brand has ironed out all its kinks.
To begin deciding how and when to incorporate a cause, there are a few questions to ask yourself.
Is there a cause you want to support right now?
For a lot of companies, their philanthropic purpose is fleshed out as their brand develops and grows.
If you aren’t exactly sure what cause you want to get behind via your brand, it’s okay to take some time to find answers. You might discover your mission in the needs of your audience. You may have a serendipitous encounter at a conference that leads you to your cause. Or you might even know from your personal passions. No matter how you decide, it’s natural as your brand grows to also grow in awareness as it pertains to your business. And from a place of knowledge and experience, you can determine an ideal way to contribute.
That being said, if you know on day one who you want to serve, then, by all means, do it right away! The next questions will help you figure out how.
Is there a way to add value even if you’re not financially ready?
Whenever you find “that thing” that sets your soul on fire you have all the permission in the world to start acting now. For many new businesses though, the ability to financially contribute to a cause isn’t always available in those early days of “just making it.”
In this case, is there a way to give back that doesn’t involve monetary investment?
- Are you able to give of your time?
- Your knowledge?
- Your services?
Though your time is, of course, valuable, often new entrepreneurs find the hands-on work to be a more doable offering in the beginning.
Is there an opportunity to drive awareness through your content?
Now let’s say even your time is a stretch. It’s an incredibly treasured commodity. That doesn’t mean you’re out of options for helping.
Quick question… is your cause one of your buckets? Because if it isn’t, it should be. One of the best things ANYONE can do for ANY CAUSE is to bring awareness. As you’re developing content around your products, your philosophies, and your ideas, make sure you reserve some space for the meaningful work you hope to contribute to.
Even if you don’t have the money. Even if you have hardly any time. There is always a chance to help by spreading meaningful messages and advancing the organization’s mission.
Is there an established goal within your business plan that includes your cause?
As we’ve discussed, there’s almost always a way to bring something to the table, even in the earliest days of your brand. So if you know what it is you’d like to support, there’s no reason to not start now.
If you’re feeling, however, like the efforts are a tiny ripple in a big ocean, then it’s time to set some goals. If you’re making strategic plans for how you’ll make your business profitable, how you’ll invest earnings back into the business and how you’ll grow your team, but you have yet put on paper how you’d like to effectively impact a particular cause, then it will be hard to hit that goal.
Make sure, like with any objective, that you’re setting intentional strategy behind your charitable desires.
Is there a right or wrong time to start giving back?
Not really. There are right and wrong ways though.
If you are someone who knows your mission on day one, then choosing any of the above ways to start is more than acceptable. Your top priority can be that cause and that will help bring a lot of clarity to how you should build your brand.
On the flip side, if you don’t have a clear path, don’t feel like you need a cause just to have one in those early days. Let your brand mature. Let yourself grow into your purpose. You won’t lose any good people points for not knowing right away.
If you do start later, make sure what you’re getting involved in is well-supported by your established brand. It’s not to say that you have to always be on-message with everything, but if you really want to use your brand for good, you should try to make it so that the cause and the business have a symbiotic relationship.
To all of you out there asking the question “Is there a way to use my brand to make someone else’s life better?” BRAVO! There’s no wrong way to go about it. And there’s no time to start like today.