When I started my business as a professional speaker in 2014, I wanted to make a difference, and I committed to a giving back strategy from day one. I believe that you don’t have to be big to have a big impact on those who need your help.

Giving back to make a difference.

Business owners have the ability and social platforms to make an impact that is greater than any individual, and many are inspired to do so.

When businesses do great things, the people around them do great things. When people are involved with a business that has giving-back as part of the bigger picture it makes them feel part of something larger than themselves.

A business can benefit in many ways by behaving responsibly and ethically and thinking beyond the individual. The impact of giving-back goes way beyond profit margin and increased sales. When businesses choose to do good things for the world, the world changes for the better.

I have heard some skeptics argue that businesses ‘give back’ as a marketing ploy (often the sceptics are not the ones giving). Perhaps instead of questioning the intention, consider the premise that no harm can be done by giving back.

Does your marketing plan include a way to give back?

Giving doesn’t just refer to giving money to charities. According to Philanthropy Australia, it’s ‘the planned and structured giving of time, information, goods and services, voice and influence, as well as money, to improve the well-being of humanity and the community’. There are so many ways to give back.

For many business owners, these causes can be dear to their hearts. I am always interested to know why a business chooses a particular charity. There is usually an interesting back-story.

The concept of a triple bottom line is the impact on “people, planet and profit.” The term was coined by John Elkington in the 1990s and is defined as active communities and a healthy environment combined with profitability.

Small business philanthropy is growing in Australia.

The 2016 Giving Australia Report revealed that in 2015-16, Australian businesses gave $17.5b to charities and not-for-profits (NFP).

Interestingly, $8.5b of that $17.5b came from small and medium businesses, with 70 per cent of all small and medium businesses giving to charity. But don’t let the numbers put you off.
Just because a business is small does not mean it cannot commit to giving back. Even a start-up business can give-back. If it is part of your strategy from day one, it becomes part of the fabric of your brand.

Giving back is more than collecting money

The figures show that small businesses are doing more than just collecting coin donations. Some business owners are supporting charities by donating a percentage of their profits, matching their customers’ donations, hosting fundraising events, or providing pro bono (free) goods and services on an ongoing basis to help charities fundraise or deliver their much-needed services.

What can you do?

As part of your giving-back strategy consider the following:

  • Which charities do you want to support?
  • Is there a cause that aligns with your business’ purpose, or one with which you have a deep connection?
  • Do you want to support a local charity to demonstrate a commitment to the community in which you live or operate?

Time, expertise or money?

Do you want to give cash donations, raise funds on the charity’s behalf or, offer pro bono (free) goods or services?

Part of the business plan

These are some of the small things that I do to make a difference.

  • Offer pro-bono coaching for selected people who want to share their stories.
  • As a Community Ambassador and Speaker for RUOK?
  • By hosting regular live storytelling events with all profits donated to charity.
  • By setting up a regular direct donation to a giving circle – a NFP that has a high reach and significant impact. The giving circle that I am part of is called 100 women
  • By speaking or MC’ing at selected events and instead of charging a speaking fee the client donates to charity instead.
  • Donate time to deliver a training session for a selected charity.

Think strategically about your giving – does it align with your brand and do you share the same values? If so consider what you can do to give back.

Giving is almost always a good thing. From a for-profit business’ perspective, strategic giving is even better.

The best purpose-driven marketing, however, occurs when a business integrates its social goals with its financial goals so that its day-to-day operations help the community while also advancing the need to serve its’ customers and enabling it to profit. This integrated approach can be impactful and more sustainable. Think about how generosity-marketing can work for your business.

Giving back makes good business sense.

Lives are impacted, people grow and develop, and the world becomes a better place and isn’t that something we all want?

About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers.

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

My services include:

Virtual – Live Online Training – Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Business Storytelling and executive Speaker Coaching is available online.

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference live or virtual event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

Lisa Evans, MBA is the CEO of Speaking Savvy. She is one of less than 150 Certified Speaking Professionals in Australia. She is a Certified Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Certified Virtual Presenter, Accredited Business Coach (ICF), Author, TEDx Speaker Coach, NLP Coach, Graphic Recorder, Host and Curator of Stories From The Heart, and Improvisation Actor and Marketing Director at Perth Playback Theatre.