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Back in 2015, Google gave over $167 million to charity where most of those funds went to a nonprofit that focuses on aiding the poor. Some of the other funds went to a school for the blind as well as to advocates for criminal justice reform. However, Google is not the only philanthropic business, of course. In fact, most, if not all, Fortune 500 companies donate to charity in some capacity. The most generous companies sometimes receive recognition from the media for their philanthropic efforts. Most of the smart businesses know that philanthropy can give them an edge in their industry. Here are some ways that philanthropy can be good for businesses.


It Improves Competitive Context

Philanthropic efforts can help companies to improve their competitive context. For those unaware, competitive context is “the quality of the business environment in the location or locations where they operate” according to the Harvard Business Review in “The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy.” They go on to say “using philanthropy to enhance context brings social and economic goals into alignment and improves a company’s long-term business prospects.” In other words, it is possible for businesses to give the things that they do best to benefit others. A great example would be Google who installed Wifi along refugee routes in Europe in 2015 as part of its charitable efforts.


People Support Brands that Support Causes

Consumers are expecting the companies they support to adopt a certain level of corporate social responsibility. A study in 2017 revealed that 76% of Americans said they would not buy products from a company that supports issues in contrast with their personal beliefs. Within that same study, another 78% said they want companies to address pertinent social justice issues, and 87% said they are more likely to buy products from companies that advocate for the issues they care about.


Philanthropic Organizations As Opportunities

There’s a quote from the TV show Mad Men that says, “Philanthropy is the gateway to power” and there is a lot of truth to this. In Fortune Magazine’s article “4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back” the author explains that “philanthropic organizations are often a who’s who of the world’s most powerful individuals.” So, by getting your foot in the door by working with these charitable organizations, you may find yourself in contact with the people who could be the key to your next big win. The Fortune Magazine article goes on to say “for an entrepreneur or business person, these connections are an invaluable resource. The people you know determine what you can get done and what opportunities you can take advantage of.”