Is it possible to be both the receiver and the giver of community charity? For the Black entrepreneur, the answer is always a resounding “Yes!.” If we are the first line of defense for our own community, then whether or not access to resources are equal and fair outside of it won’t technically matter too much.
When we as Black entrepreneurs take the onus upon ourselves to put the right ecological business infrastructures in place, we lessen the burden of the $290 billion deficit in equity. According to a report by Mckinsey & Company:
“Healthy Black-owned businesses could be a critical component for closing the United States’ Black–white wealth gap, which we project will cost the economy $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion (in 2018 dollars) per year by 2028. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has further stressed Black-owned businesses and may cause the racial wealth gap to widen. This gap includes a $290 billion—and growing—opportunity to grow overall wealth by achieving revenue parity between Black- and white-owned businesses in addition to providing aid to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs)—those with up to 500 employees—with nonwhite owners.”
Giving Is Great for Business
Who doesn’t like free promotion or brand strategy? Do you realize that, when you give back to your very own community – the one you serve, you are also essentially promoting your business and creating a word-of-mouth buzz that no social media strategy can rival? Well, now you know.
In fact, if you donate enough, you can use the charitable deduction allowance on your tax returns. Your local TV news stations are filled with content photos of business owners presenting charitable donations to the founders of non-profit and community organizations. In return, recipients of such largess are more than willing to give community donors recognition and thank them by making sure donors’ names are mentioned in outgoing literature, on their website, and at charity events.
If you can’t give money, consider donating your time and partner with a charitable organization to host an event. Use this as an opportunity to not only put the word out about your business to gain new customers, but to also network and form business partnerships that are mutually beneficial. These relationships are sometimes referred to as “joint venture partnerships.”
In turn, you can then put the charities you support on your promotional materials by including a one-liner such as: “We are Proud Supporters of XYZ Business.” Include it in your email signatures and on your websites and social media pages, as discussed earlier. The best platforms for this are Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and, especially, Linkedin.
Maximizing Your Giving
Make sure when you sit down with your accountant – or put on your own accountant hat – you budget every fiscal year for helping the community you serve. Be specific and give it its own line item. An example of this would be to set aside a certain percentage of your revenue each month to be distributed among a certain set of charities. It can be different organizations each time or the same, depending on the needs of the community you are serving. When you plan for charitable donations/giving, you are less likely to feel an immediate impact on your revenue. Even if you don’t earn as much as you projected, you can simply view at it as a marketing expense.
Look for outside-the-box ways you can give to your communities, instead of simply writing a check. There are plenty of articles, organizations, and resources to help you plan the best long-term strategy for success. Your main goal is to be consistent and give all year round. Especially during holidays. This keeps you top of mind, helps someone in need, and gives you a tax break. There’s your win/win/win.
Now go forth and donate!