Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

Is philanthropy the missing piece in your marketing puzzle?

26 Apr 2018

Numerous studies have indicated that it is good for you to do good for others: it boosts your mood and emotional wellbeing, and can even generate measurable health benefits. What if you could bring some of those benefits over to your business? With the right mix of philanthropy and marketing, your business can do good for others while improving its image in the community and boosting growth.

What should we support?

The first thing to consider when assembling a philanthropic marketing plan is the social problem you’d like to target. Ideally, this should be an issue that your organization cares deeply about, and that is aligned in some way with your core business. For example, if you are an ETF issuer, you may want to target financial literacy. Whatever you support, it should ideally be located where you are—this helps generate more positive name recognition in your community and could result in additional news coverage for your efforts.

Related: How to Position yourself as a Thought Leader in the ETF Space

Who should we support?

You have a couple of options available to you, depending on the scope of your goals in philanthropy. If you want to make a big splash and are willing to invest the funds and manpower necessary, you could start your own philanthropic organization or nonprofit devoted to the cause of your choice. If this seems like too much of a heavy lift, then the next-best option is to provide financial support to a local organization or charity. Since you’ll ideally be entering into a long-term partnership with this organization, it’s important that you do the appropriate vetting as you select the charity you wish to donate to; you want to make sure your money is being used effectively, and that the organization is run by people you can trust.

How should we support?

Although financial support is the most obvious way to contribute to a philanthropic organization, there are a number of creative ways to accomplish this. Beyond a lump sum donation, you could pledge a percentage or dollar amount of sales to the organization, conduct periodic “volunteer days” where your employees donate their time, or sponsor particular events held by the charity of your choice.

How do we get the word out?

It’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to marketing your own philanthropic efforts. The marketing field is littered with the well-intentioned but tone-deaf messages of self-aggrandizing companies, congratulating themselves for their own philanthropy. Rather than trumpeting your business’s altruism, you should allow the charity itself to do the talking. It helps lend credibility to your philanthropic efforts and doesn’t come across as self-serving or crass. Your philanthropic actions within your own community will also help lead to media attention, and there’s nothing wrong with posting about your volunteering on your own company blog, for example.

Philanthropy, whether personal or professional, helps us feel good, encourages us to give back to our communities, and strengthens the bonds that tie us all together. It can also help boost your firm’s visibility and improve your public image, all of which can lead to greater business opportunities as well. In other words, if there’s such a thing as a win-win-win, philanthropy is it.