It Makes Good Business Sense to Partner with a Charity
For many businesses, partnering with a charity may seem like a task for the ‘too hard basket’. But that’s not the way a handful of successful Sunshine Coast companies, who have adopted a strategic ‘give back’ approach to business, view their partnership with STEPS Charity.
STEPS Charity recently hosted a working lunch presented by Ken Mills Toyota dealer principal Brett Mills, with their partners Ben and Amanda Murphy from BA Murphy Constructions, Jim and Angela Lee from The Fleet Office and Nick and Lara from ARB Maroochydore to discuss ‘why a business should give to a charity’.
They all advocate for a proactive ‘partnership’ approach when it comes to working with a charity and say it’s up to businesses to find a charity that aligns with their goals and culture to make a plan to work together, for the mutual benefit of both parties.
STEPS Charity’s managing director Carmel Crouch firmly believes a charity’s relationship with a sponsor is a two-way street.
“It can’t be one sided, businesses need more than just a warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the year, they need a return they can see in their budgets,” Carmel said.“It’s also about increased brand exposure and brand reputation, and this works both ways.
“It needs to be an investment worth making, I have an obligation to make sure we as a charity are giving back to our partners.”
STEPS believes that providing businesses with unique opportunities to connect with the community and make a positive impact in the lives of others is a real benefit.
Nick and Lara believe that when their business aligns with a charity they grow together, noting they had already seen the benefits to their staff engagement and view it as a win-win.
Ben believes that a real cultural shift has been happening with how businesses value charities, something that didn’t happen years ago, particularly in the construction industry.
“We’ve seen lots of examples where the construction industry has partnered with industry on the Sunshine Coast with some truly amazing results for our community.” Ben said.
“We wanted to get involved because we felt it was our responsibility to give back to the community which has given us so much over the years.”
“Corporate social responsibility has been a shift, just as digital disruption is making changes in the way we do business, and if businesses don’t progress with that shift, they’ll get left behind.
“We’ve had calls from subcontractors looking to work with us because of the work we do in the community, they’re offering us better rates and supplies, they want to partner with us because of the work we do with STEPS, and I underestimated that initially.
“We rely on 600 or 700 people to build one house, it works well for us to know how we can engage all these stakeholders, they may not like to go to a gala ball, but they do want to support our sponsored race day events, so a charity that can tailor a package to our needs works for us.
“As a new business it also gives us brand placement in the broader community, and now people know who we are.
Brett believes the importance of the right type of partnership is paramount, he urges business owners to think about where they’re spending money in their business and if that money can be redirected to a charity to create a mutually profitable situation.
“You’re going to spend money on branding and exposure for your business anyway, so why not do that with a charity and benefit the community too,” Brett said.
“The old way to think about it is to just donate to charity, but if you partner with a charity, making it beneficial for both parties, that’s a sustainable model.
“When you take a not-for-profit organisation and add a for-profit organisation what you get is mutual benefit, I can’t agree with that more.
“Charitable work brings together business people that have a similar mindset, that just naturally fit together, and from that common thinking, business relationships are built and then leveraged,” he said.
Brett says if more businesses invested in charities, more would prosper, so would the community, and so would their businesses.
Jim and Angela said they used to give to charity without any expectation on a return other than the benefit to the community, but after networking with other STEPS partners they believe that if their business prospers from giving to charity, then that provides even more opportunity to increase their partnership allowances.
STEPS Charity tailor packages to suit their partners’ needs, find out more on 5458 3000 or visit www.stepscharity.com.au
Photo Matters Magazine: ARB Maroochydore Nick & Lara, Brett Mills of Ken Mills Toyota, STEPS Group Australia managing director Carmel Crouch, BA Murphy Constructions Ben & Amanda, STEPS Charity manager Angela Harrison, The Fleet Office’s Jim and Angela.