Entrepreneurs and philanthropy often go hand-in-hand but studies suggest that small business owners are becoming even more interested in charitable giving as their businesses become more profitable.
A U.K. survey of small business owners, commissioned by wealth manager Kleinwort Hambros, suggests that 44% of business owners claim to donate to charitable organizations every month. The average donation is 126 pounds (about $207 Canadian dollars), for a U.K.-wide total of nearly $500 million.
If small businesses increase their sales by just 5%, their charitable giving would increase by around $120 month, the study found, or an additional $87 million per month in total.
Rebecca Constable, head of philanthropy at Kleinwort Hambros, says: “People may be surprised to discover how much small business owners are thinking of giving to charities as their businesses become more profitable.” Constable calls this an ”exciting development,” adding that entrepreneur and business owner clients are placing much more emphasis on philanthropy and impact investing than they would have done ten years ago.
There are several reasons why small businesses should give to charity. First of all, charitable giving creates a positive relationship with the community, which sets them apart from larger corporations. No, you can’t compete with the Richard Bransons and Warren Buffetts of the world, but small businesses thrive on community involvement, and giving to a worthy cause is a great way to stay on the radar.
Philanthropists want to see their money put to good use and to make a difference, particularly if they are hard-working entrepreneurs. One way to protect your investment is to build a long-term relationship with the organization you would like to support. Start with smaller gifts, and grow as you feel comfortable.
Investment guru Eric Sprott’s first gift to Ottawa’s Carleton University, shortly after graduation, was only $200. Now, he is one of Carleton’s most generous contributors. Taking this approach allows you to become fully acquainted with the organization and its work.
Vancouver-based entrepreneur Brian Paes-Braga also emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community. Paes-Braga co-founded the Quiet Cove Foundation as a way to find innovative solutions to large scale social issues.
“One of the organizations that is benefiting from the foundation is The New Leaf Project, a non-profit that is piloting a socially innovative approach to homelessness,” he says. In addition, the Backpack Buddies Program, also supported by the foundation, is dedicated to ending the weekend hunger gap faced by children who rely on school meal programs in the Greater Vancouver area.
With more and more entrepreneurs choosing to donate profits to charity, it’s clear that a trend is developing. Though not every entrepreneur will be able to afford to give away the billions donated by Warren Buffett, it’s also true that every little bit helps and that charity, when done right, can change the world in a positive way.