I received a great article recently from Sally Feinerman, the owner of a personal training business called Fitness Fix.
Sally explained that when it's done strategically, charitable giving can be good for business.
Sally has discovered that you can promote your charitable activities to build good will in the community, enhance customer loyalty, heighten brand awareness, and, yes, even increase sales.
Sally is a very healthy fitness trainer.
In December 2011 she was admitted to hospital and found to her shock that she needed to have a pacemaker fitted.
As she was recovering in hospital it became very clear to Sally that the purpose of having a pacemaker fitted was so that she could get out there in a bigger way to share her own heart story and inspire others to do the same.
Sally says having a pacemaker doesn't need to change your life. She sees it as an opportunity to continue normal daily activities. She challenges others with similar conditions to "stop asking 'why me' and instead look for ways to turn their situation into a positive."
Here are some of the things Sally did in her business...
She set up a free walking group for women to attend each Saturday and in return people gave her a gold coin donation for the New Zealand Heart Foundation.
By donating to her group you will be helping the Heart Foundation continue its vital work in research, cardiac rehabilitation, education programmes and resources.
By joining the group you kick start your weekend with a spectacular walk in amazing scenery, with a fun group of like-minded women, while raising money for the New Zealand Heart Foundation at the same time. Once the ladies have joined the group the other members who train at Fitness Fix sell the benefits of training at her studio.
Sally has created a community of raving fans and the members feel great knowing they are giving back at the same time as working on their fitness.
Sally also holds events at her studio and charges a per person cost and all profits go to the Heart Foundation.
All this helps the New Zealand Heart Foundation and it's also created some very positive publicity for Sally and her business.
Sally was selected recently as one of 24 extraordinary runners from around the world to be a Medtronic Global Hero at this year's Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, USA, on October 6 2013.
Medtronic first heard about Sally's story when she featured on TVNZ Breakfast in 2012 in an interview about her running achievements less than a year after having a pacemaker fitted. This was a fully sponsored trip and has given Sally even more media opportunities and a bigger platform to spread her message.
For Sally her big goal is to help stop women dying prematurely of heart disease.
Here are three of Sally's tips to getting started with marketing that does good:
1: Pick a cause that you believe in.
This helps elevate your involvement from something you feel you should do to something you truly enjoy doing.
2: Look for a local charity.
Knowing that you're helping your own community can make your involvement more meaningful, especially if it also enhances the well-being of family and friends and clients in your area.
3: Find a cause that relates to your business.
Support a charity that affects and influences your target market. For example if you are in the beauty industry in New Zealand you may want to sponsor an event such as Look Good Feel Better. "Look Good Feel Better is a free service offered to women undergoing treatment for cancer. They help restore and enhance the appearance of cancer patients during and after treatment."
I like what Sally is doing. It's a great reminder that marketing that does good is something worth considering for many businesses.
"For it is in giving that we receive." St. Francis of Assisi
What local cause could you positively support with your business?