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Lead Your Team Strategy

Want Your Business to Give Back? 6 Services That Help You Do It

Want Your Business to Give Back? 6 Services That Help You Do It
Giving back to your community is as easy as signing up for one of these charitable donation services. / Credit: Shutterstock

The season of giving is quickly approaching, and many small businesses are getting ready to jump on the holiday charity bandwagon. While some startups may be planning a one-time donation to a local charity, some are setting up a system of charitable donations in their year-round business model. These six B2B services make it easy and affordable for your business to start practicing social responsibility.

B1G1 (short for Buy One Give One) was founded by Paul Dunn in 2007 to create a way for small businesses to make each one of their transactions have a meaningful impact on the world. This membership-driven service allows you to choose from hundreds of projects and support them with your daily sales. One hundred percent of your giving goes toward the projects you choose, and thanks to its unique business model, B1G1 members can give at a variety of levels in several different ways.

Dunn believes that charitable giving from small and medium-size businesses is the key to major social change.

[Starting a Socially Responsible Business: How to Make It Work]

"In the U.S. alone, a staggering $380 billion was given to charities last year, yet only 5 percent of that came from businesses," he told BusinessNewsDaily. "That's why we exist at B1G1 — to create a world that's full of giving by making every business transaction give back in an impactful way."

The idea behind a Charitable Checkout campaign is fairly straightforward: Donate to a cause, and receive a reward. For as little as $9 per month, a business can create and publish a campaign that allows anyone to give money to one or more of the 1.5 million organizations associated with Charitable Checkout. In exchange, the donor receives a social media "shout-out" from the business, along with a coupon or other digital media reward — no purchase required.

Jay Ziskrout, founder of the platform, said that the social media aspect of clients' campaigns plays a big role in their success.

"The campaigns produce hundreds of millions of social media impressions," Ziskrout said. "The donor feels appreciated and rewarded, positive social media is generated for the business and the cause, and sales are driven for the business — 13 percent of donors end up spending money with the business who started the campaign."

Ten years ago, the founders of 1% for the Planet envisioned companies and nonprofit organizations coming together to make big, positive changes for the environment. They discovered that less than 2 percent of all charitable giving went toward environmental causes, and even less than that came from corporate donors. Today, nearly 1,200 businesses participate in this program, committing 1 percent of their sales to one of more than 3,500 nonprofits that help the planet.

"Being a part of 1% for the Planet communicates a business's commitment to the environment," said Melody Badgett, managing director of the company. "Members gain the value of giving to something bigger and connecting with a wider network of like-minded businesses and organizations."

Badgett said that today's consumers want to spend their money wisely and align themselves with brands that are really having an impact. By joining 1% for the Planet, businesses can market themselves to their customers as being socially responsible and give greater visibility to organizations dedicated to the environment.

With so many charities out there, it can be difficult to decide which one(s) your business should support. Place2Give, owned by Dexterity Ventures, helps individuals and business owners find the organization that best matches their values and contribution abilities through a donor profile survey. Financial advisers can also use Place2Give to manage clients' philanthropic investments.

"Donors can designate their donations to a specific charity by clicking on that charity's donate button on Place2Give," said Karine Shoham-Aviv, marketing manager for Place2Give. "Donors also have the choice to donate through the Place2Give Foundation. Our team will then direct the donation to areas of greatest need."

While PlanG is a consumer-facing service, it also partners with hundreds of socially minded businesses to allow them to set up a philanthropic-donations campaign for their customers. PlanG members create an account from which to donate to their favorite causes. This account can be funded through debit and gift cards, or by earning "giving dollars" from PlanG's partner businesses.

Co-founder and CEO Marti Beller said PlanG has seen an overwhelmingly positive response from the brands associated with the company.

"The early adopters have seen an increase in customer engagement, which we believe is a leading indicator of long-term brand loyalty," Beller told BusinessNewsDaily. "True brand loyalty is driven by emotional connections, which can be created through philanthropic campaigns."

The power to give back is one of the best gifts someone can receive. This is the driving philosophy behind TisBest, a company that provides gift cards to be spent on the recipient's choice of charities. TisBest offers brandable business solutions to allow companies of any size to give charity gift cards to customers, clients, employees and vendors.

TisBest's executive director, Jon Siegel, shared how one of the company's clients, Buildingi, has utilized the service to diversify and expand its charitable efforts.

"Historically, the executive team determined where its philanthropic dollars would go each year," Siegel said. "Three years ago, the company began giving TisBest charity gift cards as holiday gifts to its key customers, allowing them to determine which causes would receive the funds. This year, they initiated a program to give a TisBest card to each employee on his or her employment anniversary — $100 for each year of service. It's a terrific way to engage customers and employees in the philanthropic process."

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.