Business Philanthropy


Giving back is a good way to market your brand. This will help you build long lasting relationships that will benefit your organization in the long run. Making employees be part of this creates passion that helps them working harder.

There’s no greater feeling, no greater satisfaction, than knowing you’re making a difference. But giving back to your community is also good for business. Think about it. Philanthropy helps build relationships with clients and potential clients. It helps build and support your brand. It promotes employee engagement. And let’s face it: good corporate citizens want to do business with others who share their values.

Building relationships.

Let me give a great example. Our foundation hosts the Holt Brothers Playoff Party during the AFC and NFC Championship Games to raise money for our grant programs. It’s pretty informal – jeans, game jerseys, football, beer and great food. A lot of our sponsors are companies we work with in the construction industry. Through this event, we have gotten to know them and they’ve gotten to know us in a totally different way. We’ve had clients tell us they want to do business with us because of our passion. It’s an unintended consequence, but philanthropy is helping us build customer loyalty.

Building your brand.

Philanthropy also builds and supports a brand. Think of the NFL and United Way. The league has done a great job associating itself and the guys with a successful organization that does good work for communities throughout the country. You feel good when you see a player sitting at a desk, coloring with a bunch of kids and joking with them.

I once read a quote that really stuck with me, “A well-developed philanthropic program will resonate with clients on a deep, emotional level that goes beyond any creative ad campaign.” In other words, the act of giving back evokes emotion and fosters an authentic connection. That’s exactly what’s at work with the NFL–United Way partnership.

Building employee engagement.

We’ve also found that philanthropy as a core value promotes employee engagement. It infuses passion in those around you. It gives employees more energy and drive. After all, who doesn’t want to be a part of something bigger?

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Organisations are no longer sincire on their philanthropy they only give when they expect something back mostly as a way of marketing and advertising. This is the case due to the expectations of shareholders where business money should be put in profitable ventures.

Corporate philanthropy is in decline. Charitable contributions by U.S. companies fell 14.5 % in real dollars last year, and over the last 15 years, corporate giving as a percentage of profits has dropped by 50 %. The reasons are not hard to understand. Executives increasingly see themselves in a no-win situation, caught between critics demanding ever higher levels of “corporate social responsibility” and investors applying relentless pressure to maximize short-term profits. Giving more does not satisfy the critics—the more companies donate, the more is expected of them. And executives find it hard, if not impossible, to justify charitable expenditures in terms of bottom-line benefit.

This dilemma has led many companies to seek to be more strategic in their philanthropy. But what passes for “strategic philanthropy” today is almost never truly strategic, and often it isn’t even particularly effective as philanthropy. Increasingly, philanthropy is used as a form of public relations or advertising, promoting a company’s image or brand through cause-related marketing or other high-profile sponsorships. Although it still represents only a small proportion of overall corporate charitable expenditures, U.S. corporate spending on cause-related marketing jumped from $ 125 million in 1990 to an estimated $ 828 million in 2002. Arts sponsorships are growing, too—they accounted for an additional $ 589 million in 2001. While these campaigns do provide much-needed support to worthy causes, they are intended as much to increase company visibility and improve employee morale as to create social impact. Tobacco giant Philip Morris, for example, spent $ 75 million on its charitable contributions in 1999 and then launched a $ 100 million advertising campaign to publicize them. Not surprisingly, there are genuine doubts about whether such approaches actually work or just breed public cynicism about company motives. (See the sidebar “The Myth of Strategic Philanthropy.” )

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The Basics of Ecommerce


Buying and selling online is what we refer to as ecommerce. Ecommerce is short for electronic commerce and there are several examples of the same.

Examples of Ecommerce

Online Shopping

Buying and selling goods on the Internet is one of the most popular examples of ecommerce. Sellers create storefronts that are the online equivalents of retail outlets. Buyers browse and purchase products with mouse clicks. Though is not the pioneer of online shopping, it is arguably the most famous online shopping destination.

Electronic Payments

When you are buying goods online, there needs to be a mechanism to pay online too. That is where payment processors and payment gateways come into the picture.

Electronic payments reduce the inefficiency associated with writing and mailing checks. It also does away with many of the safety issues that arise due to payment made in currency notes.

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The engine of ecommerce is the internet. This is what propagates everything and therefore all ecommerce stores require stable, reliable and fast internet connectivity. Any change in technology also affects the demand for ecommerce services. For one to be able to fully understand ecommerce they will have to understand the several roles the internet plays.


An unreliable connection is annoying for the consumer and can mean lost sales for the vendor. Generally speaking, possible areas of potential failure are: Local network connection provider Internet Service Provider (ISP) used.

You may have a limited choice of connection providers in your area. There's a greater choice of ISPs and, for business purposes, it's worth researching the reliability of a prospective ISP before committing.

Connection Speed (Bandwidth)

Bandwidth is without doubt the most important factor affecting the quality of Internet services.

Put simply, the bandwidth of any transmission medium, such as network cabling, is a measure of the amount of data that can be transferred in a fixed period of time.

The unit of bandwidth is bits per second (bps).

This is important because it affects the speed of transactions carried out over the Internet and thus the quality of the experienced as seen by the purchaser.

Slow or frustrating links are more likely to harm business than increase it.

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If you are thinking of delving into the world of ecommerce then you should also consider the problems associated with it. These are challenges that are quite unique to the virtual world.

Lack of visitors to the site – when people don’t know about you

A lack of visitors to your online business is either about people not knowing your site exists, or being unable to find it. Both these problems can be tackled by good use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). For this you need good content, which is not just about stuffing your site with keywords. It’s about thinking about what people will be searching for that could lead them to your site – which is all about understanding the customer mindset. [youtube video= ]

Low conversion rates – when people browse but don’t buy

If your site is being found, and people are browsing, but not making a purchase, you need to understand why customers are leaving the site, and why they leave it when they do. For this, Google Analytics is your first port of call. It’s free, it’s the most widely used service of its kind, and you can get a great deal of intelligence on how and why people use your site. It helps you rule out what your problems are not, and identify what they are. If people are leaving the site immediately after landing on it, is your homepage not well-designed? Is your marketing getting it wrong and people are not finding what they thought they would at your site? Is the design of your site confusing or off-putting?

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There are many entrepreneurs who have started ecommerce sites and they are making lots of money on a daily basis. In fact studies show that online retail sales increase annually. This success is only possible if you undertake certain steps in setting up your ecommerce site.

Learn before you leap

Part of your planning has to be learning about how to run an online business. The best way  is to read about e-commerce online (on sites like The Profit Club) or in books and chat to people who are selling online already – maybe via a forum, or by contacting the owners of sites you like (provided they are not big retailers).

Learn from your own shopping experiences too. What do you like/dislike?

Attending a few small business and e-commerce exhibitions will help as well.

Know the competition

You can see what the competition is like by searching on Google for some of the products that you plan to sell. You could even test their service by buying something.

Get your proposition and pricing right

Why would anyone want to buy from you? What can you offer that’s different to other sites? Beware of competing just on price – it’s a mug’s game. Add value instead and charge more! Eg offer related consumables (like batteries) for a bit more, suggest associated items, offer a gift-wrapping service for a small fee, or free P&P if they spend £X.

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