It’s better to give than to receive…As the CEO of a Bath-based children’s and young people’s charity I would of course say that wouldn’t I?

However, not everyone approves, business giving is not applauded by all, far from it, it’s not without its cynics. The corporate sector is often accused of taking advantage of ‘tax breaks’ or just trying to ‘look good’, rather than making a commitment. The Government policy of shrinking the public sector with the corporate sector filling the gap is a Marmite one, loved by some and loathed by others.

At Bath Rugby Foundation we work with many businesses and embrace the approach that working together creates stronger communities and stronger communities are better for everyone. We would rather work together than poke a stick at any differences.

Of course, businesses who commit to a charity giving programme will, by improving staff engagement and morale, prove themselves to be an employer staff can be proud of and clients can relate to, but we know from 16 years’ experience culture and reputation is not the only reason  businesses are driven to do ‘good’.

If you are not authentic people will soon see through you and it will do your business more harm than good. If you are a business only ‘doing good’ to make yourself ‘look good’ it’s only a matter of time before you’re rumbled.

So if you’re a business looking to do good how can you set the right tone?

Firstly, choose carefully and develop longer term, more sustainable relationships with a charity or charities rather than giving one-off donations.

Secondly, the relationship must be of mutual benefit – like all good relationships both sides should feel the love. It's vital to have some clear, shared goals, having a good cultural fit is vital.

Thirdly, it's not all about money, charities can access the skills of employees as well as fundraising capabilities. Even small businesses can help enormously by donating staff time.

Charities shouldn’t turn up their nose at businesses benefiting from the relationship, aren’t all the best teams greater than the sum of their individual parts? In more and more sectors, a charity giving programme can mean the difference between landing and not landing a contract. For example, it’s common for local authorities who are putting jobs out to tender to be explicit about their choice being guided by how socially aware a business is. Contract-winning companies will not only be the ones who can prove best capability and best value-for-money, they will also be the ones who can offer the best community involvement. This can take the form of working with local schools and organisations, using local workers, making charitable donations, incorporating advanced sustainability, and sometimes a mix of them all.

If you are a business and would like to learn more about how working with Bath Rugby Foundation could work for you, your employees and clients then email me on [email protected] or ring me on 07808479963

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