There's a humble business strategy you may be overlooking, and its benefits far surpass the standard ROI of other tactics. The strategy I'm referring to is a companywide effort of generosity, or rather, charitability. Finding a cause or charity to support is a practice many companies have adopted, for reasons ranging from improved company culture to nonprofit tax deductions. Though selfless in concept, supporting a charity or cause as a company is actually a great way to bolster your marketing efforts and improve internal morale. Here's why your next marketing plan and/or campaign should include giving back.

It makes you a desirable employer.

Reports show that younger generations, specifically millennials, are more attracted to employers whose companies support a charitable cause or offer volunteer opportunities. In an age where having a "hip" and "trendy" company culture is becoming a competitive aspect of attracting talent, it helps to have a work environment that supports something outside the walls of the office. Bean bags and ping pong tables in break rooms are nice, but so are paid days off to volunteer as a company. More than ever, young professionals are seeking experiences over tangible things, and the long-term gain to be had from philanthropic experiences can create long-term satisfaction. By building charitability into your company's core mission and structure, you offer employees lasting experiences and professional fulfillment-the value of which will persist long after the work day ends.

Your business will qualify for charitable donation tax deductions.

In choosing to support an IRS approved nonprofit organization, your company will qualify for deductions on donations, itemized expenses from volunteer excursions, and more. So, if you choose to have a companywide volunteer day, you can write off the cost of the event and receive a tax deduction. Or you could sell products of which a certain percentage of proceeds go to a cause. There are plenty of ways to get tax write offs for simple acts of charity, but be sure to follow proper procedure for documenting and filing them. Accountants and nonprofit directors are usually familiar with tax write offs of this nature, so work with a charity representative or your company's bookkeeper to make a plan that will shave off some of your tax bill.

Customers love companies that give back.

Nothing unites a customer base like a cause to rally around. The majority of consumers (85% to be exact) have a better outlook on and prefer businesses and brands that support a charity they care about. If you're looking for a way to distinguish yourself from a competitor, backing a nonprofit organization might be the final factor that nudges consumers in your direction. This is especially effective during times of sudden crisis. Businesses and consumers alike are often moved by tragedy, and in actively demonstrating your concern for the damage caused by a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, you can draw the support of customers. Plus, customers that see a meaningful impact behind their purchases will be more likely to return to your business again and again, giving your business long-term and highly profitable relationships.

It gets you free marketing and publicity.

Many charities offer free publicity as a means of enticing the support and sponsorships of businesses. If your company chooses to sponsor an event or organization, you can expect to see your business logo plastered across T-shirts, social media platforms, and flyers supporting the cause, thus exposing your brand to new audiences. Should you choose to have company employees actively participate in the charity or event of your choice, taking pictures and posting them to your business web page or social media accounts will generate continued support from your current customers and attract attention from new ones.

Giving back will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

While there's plenty of motivation for incorporating a charitable aspect into your business model, the most important factor should be that it simply feels good to help others in need. Studies have shown that helping others benefits your health, and doing nice things for other people has been scientifically cited as a way to prevent heart disease, reduce stress, and even combat depression. Behind all companies are individuals who have their own worries, struggles, and mental preoccupations. If giving back is a way to directly benefit those individuals as well as others and open new avenues of business development, then you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving back.

Published on: May 10, 2016