The biggest challenge when choosing to become philanthropic is finding a cause that matters to you. You might be thinking about helping out a cause that means something to you specifically. While this is a great idea, it might be better to find a cause that is more in line with your business. For example, if you own a baby accessory business, you likely want to choose something that helps children, as opposed to something like drug addiction. It’s also important that your choice aligns with your employee’s views so everyone is on the same page. Here are a few things you can think about to help make your choice easier to figure out.

Timeline

Ask a philanthropist the difference between charity and philanthropy, and they’ll likely tell you it’s the level of social impact you can make through philanthropy. In order to actually make that impact, it requires time. Both short and long term philanthropy is great, it just depends on what works better for you. When you have short-term wins in philanthropy, you’re able to showcase your business’s abilities to make a difference, while also gaining trust from the community you’re serving. Long-term wins are just as great, but it’s important to make sure you set a reasonable timeline for yourself in order to properly set up expectations for everyone involved, including customers, employees, investors and more. 

Your Impact

An important question to ask yourself is what philanthropic success looks like for you. Success is different for each person, so this is something you should think long and hard about. Ask yourself questions: What motivates you? What motivates your team? Think about why you admire the people you admire, figure out how that relates to your business and identify the impact you seek to make in the community. 

Your Philanthropic Partner

Something philanthropy and business have in common is that they both benefit greatly from strategic partnerships. These partnerships can help organizations have a larger impact on their philanthropic endeavors by allowing them to access new networks and strengthen the business. Finding the right partner is integral if you want your philanthropy to count. When choosing a partner, you should make sure your team has a complete understanding of the type of impact you want to create, otherwise, you risk being influenced by partners who have a different idea of success than you, regardless of their good intentions. When you figure out what kind of impact you want to make, do your research so you can find a partner who also wants to make a similar impact.