'Tis the season to be jolly ... and generous. As the year draws to a close and the holidays are upon us, there is a warm and renewed focus on paying it forward and charitably celebrating the season by giving back to others less fortunate. Though we would like to think that our generosity of spirit springs solely from an altruistic sense of social responsibility and love of people, the truth is, aligning your company with a charity year round is also great for business.

Although there was not a sequel to Dickens's A Christmas Carol, it is highly likely that the new partnership forged by Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit brought forth a heightened success once word got around of Scrooge's newfound generosity to the poor. Wouldn't you have loved to have seen his financials after the shift?

Charity is beneficial for both humanity and business for several reasons.

It Boosts Employee Morale and Can Attract Top Talent

As individuals, giving back to our communities makes us feel good, causes us to be more socially aware, and helps us bond with our colleagues as we team up to help those in need. In the quest for a great work-life balance, it is important to many A-list candidates to be employed by a company that gives to charity for these very reasons.

Some companies have been known to give their employees matching bonuses, meaning, when the employee receives a bonus for exceeding his or her sales quota, a donation of the same amount goes to a charity of the employee's choice. This gives workers an added incentive to achieve higher results for the company.

Sponsorship Doubles as Marketing

Sponsoring a charity event that falls in line with your business is a great way to do some good while getting your name out in your community. You'll want to select a charity that aligns well with your business to make the greatest impact. For example, if you are a company that makes bras, you may want to sponsor a marathon for breast cancer research.

By sponsoring a worthy charity, you're presenting your company in a positive light by demonstrating to the members of your community that you care about them.

Increased Network Opportunities

We all know the inherent value of networking, but sometimes it's difficult to break the ice with new prospects. There is a need to discover common ground to help make that connection. It is so much easier to talk to someone when you share the same passion. Through working for charitable causes, you can create new contacts and immediately have something to talk about with them. It also gives you a regular platform to help maintain those relationships.

Generate Positivity Around Your Brand

Consumers appreciate and support socially conscious businesses because it causes them to become emotionally invested. In fact, customers are 85 percent more likely to buy a product that is associated with a charity.

Sharing these facts with Ebenezer Scrooge might have gotten him to change his ways a little sooner, don't you think? Take heed of his cautionary tale. Believe Dickens (and the business research) so that you won't have to be visited at night by three menacing ghosts. 

Published on: Dec 8, 2014