In recent years the role of corporate giving has been increasingly green. Carbon credits have been purchased and environmental causes have been adopted.
While I anticipate this form of giving will continue to have strong support. The economic meltdown of 2008 may signify a shift in the distribution of philanthropic cash.
The desperate need of humanity displaced by foreclosure or job loss makes it fashionable and hopefully reasonable for corporations to look at the idea of funding charitable causes that work to help those who are struggling with daily needs.
It could be argued that controlling greenhouses gases may be less important than making sure that those who are currently alive on planet earth are taken care of.
Large groups like Second Harvest of Habitat for Humanity can always use the help for their national campaigns, but there are an incredible amount of either smaller or regional charities that your business may have a personal affinity for.
Kohl's is an example of a company that provides assistance to both green charities as well as charities featuring a different focus. Their Kohl's Cares for Kids campaign benefits educational goals that can indirectly impact the economy by providing funds to help children gain a stronger grasp of educational goals and make lifelong learning a powerful tool in future job attainment and perhaps creation. This company also provides grants for local charities and assistance to more than 100 hospitals for the health requirements of children.
While this isn't an article for Kohl's it does point to what one company is doing to impact their culture in hard times. In many cases this is done so naturally many customers may not even be aware that their purchases are working to help their community while others intentionally look for specific buying opportunities to help.
Yes, Kohl's is a large brick and mortar chain, but the role of giving doesn't need to stop at doors that automatically open when customers drop by. The Internet is a powerful tool that can allow online businesses to do that same thing. Even if you are a small company you can factor in a percentage of your profits to help a charity you believe in.
Think about it this way. If you live in a rural area you can still support a local effort through your online sales. This allows funds that come to your location through sales not generated from your region to benefit your community.
For your charity this can provide a benefit not found in regional fund raising. Why? The burden of the giving is reliant on purchases from a global community. Those individuals are helping your community through every purchase they make from your site.
If your business is larger you can apply the same principles or choose a larger charity to assist. Many consumers appreciate knowing a portion of their purchase is helping others. Dedicate a portion of your website to your charity or charities of choice and explain to potential consumers how their purchase will effect change in the lives of others. For many this will result in a purchase that feels good on more than one level.