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Lead Your Team Strategy

How to Choose a Charity to Support


You want your business to find a way to give back to your community, but choosing which charity to support can be a real challenge. Paul Damico, president of the Atlanta-based Moe's Southwest Grill, a fast-casual restaurant franchise with more with more than 420 restaurants, has faced this very dilemma.

After much deliberation, Moe's decided to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, whose mission is to cure and treat Type 1 diabetes.

"We felt that they met our criteria and offered an opportunity for our corporate team, our franchise partners and our customers to get involved at a variety of levels," Damico said. 

Damico offers other business owners and managers advice on how to decide which charities to support .

  • Make sure you're keeping your No. 1 goal front and center: helping the cause. Know that the return on investment will be difficult to calculate on a balance sheet. Make the choice to be all right with that, and move forward with the partnership because it is the right thing to do. Trust that the financial benefits will be felt over time.
  • Pick an organization that can truly benefit from the level of contribution that your business can realistically provide. Many times, the consumer reach that a corporate partner can offer to spread a charitable organization's message is its most valuable asset. Think about what assets your business can bring to the table.
  • Choose a cause with an emotional connection. Putting a face behind the fundraising inspires participation across the board. If your company is national, your charitable partner should be national. If your company has local outlets and connects with local communities, your charitable partner should have local chapters as well. The money that is raised local should stay local to your business .
  • Creating a charitable partnership is a large undertaking. Make sure your internal team is on board. To start, clearly communicate the details of the partnership, the attributes of the cause and what’s expected from the members of the team. Reward people who take a leadership role in participating and make it a fun, team-building activity .
  • Encourage customer participation. According to a recent study conducted by Emory University with 1,600 Moe's Southwest Grill consumers, seeing a charitable message at the point of purchase will increase return visits, intent to recommend, brand trust and satisfaction. It's meaningful to get your charitable message in front of your customers.