Working with Charities

Doing good – how small businesses can help charities

There are a number of ways that businesses can do their bit for charity – it’s not all just about donating cold hard cash, nor CSR. And doing good can help you attract new clients and retain the best staff too…

When you’re busy running a business, helping out a charity may not be at the forefront of your mind.

Good Business Sense

However, it seems that good karma can also make good business sense. Research by Milward Brown suggest that companies that have what is called a ‘brand purpose’ and aim to make lives better – whether it is those of its staff or the community around them – grew three times faster than other businesses.

Take toy retailer The Entertainer. A family firm, founded by Gary Grant, it is bucking the trend in the toy industry and growing at a time when big names such as Toys R Us have disappeared from the high street.

The retailer runs a number of charitable schemes within it organisation, mostly aimed at children’s and Christian charities – for instance, the company tithes 10% of its profits to charity, its staff give to charity through the Payroll Giving scheme, and it organises other initiatives – staff raised more than £52,000 by taking part in the Big Cotswold Challenge, with money going to children’s charities via the Toy Trust. Its stores also acted as drop-off points for Operation Christmas Child, which sends Christmas presents to disadvantaged children.

If you’re running a smaller enterprise, you may struggle to see how you could do the same, especially if you don’t have corporate social responsibility resources (CSR). Corporate social responsibility is a term used to describe an organisation’s efforts to improve society in some way, whether that is donating to charity or ensuring the company works in the most environmentally-friendly way that it can.

Here at APM, we have been supporting a charity close to our heart since 2014. Remus ( is a horse rescue sanctuary that cares for horses that have been mistreated and neglected, and takes them to a safe place where they can live out their days happily being looked after. We have supported them with marketing assistance to help spread the word. All it costs us is a little time but it makes a big difference. There are opportunities for companies to sponsor animals, the annual calendar and events at the Sanctuary too –  a good way to get your name out there when you consider they have more than 3,900 followers on Facebook!

Depending on your business, you may be able to help out a charity related to your type of work, or you could just approach a charity that you have a close connection with.

Staff Involvement

And your staff can get something out of it too. Team building can be a vital part of ensuring your business works at its best – Children’s charity Barnardo’s has recognised this and has put together a series of challenge that can be taken up on corporate team building days out . Rather like Sir Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice TV show, your teams can compete against one another to help raise cash by approaching various companies and organisations and persuading them to donate items to be used for a Barnardo’s project or sold at auction – or perhaps they’d prefer to take over a high street charity shop for the day and see how much money they can raise using their selling, display and business skills! Sounds great fun.

Another option is to allow staff paid time off to volunteer – coffee giant Starbucks is funding a number of employees to spend half the working week working for a non profit volunteer organisation called Points of Light. The idea is that it will help the employees to feel more involved with the local community and therefore stay with Starbucks for longer.

Okay, not many small businesses could afford to pay for their staff to volunteer for half the working week – but maybe you can set up a program that allows a couple of days volunteering each year, or that matches their charitable donations. Doing good comes in many forms!

All these endeavours look attractive to incoming employees – and when unemployment is low, you want to make sure you’re getting the pick of the applicants – particularly among millennials who are very keen on companies that have a strong CSR. And for existing employees, they enable them to feel engaged and more committed to your organisation, which can only be a good thing.

Finally, you’ll be doing a bit of good – which will make you feel good too!

If you would like to have a chat about your marketing requirements, please call Alison Page on 07963 002065 or email You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.