Location of writing: Madrid Airport Lounge (By lounge, I mean the standard plastic chair every sits in at the boarding gate. Lounge sounded cooler).
Travel Plans: Had a nice last couple of weeks in Spain. San Seb. was amazing as always, and really enjoyed Madrid – Basically just ate and drank all day, and have racked up a nice little list of favourite food / drink places if anyone wants it.
My Spanish did not get to a level I wanted, but my month long sidestep in Portugal is probably a bit to blame for that. I will keep it up at home nonetheless, and hopefully return and be able to better understand when my Spanish friends when they are talking about how to get me out of their flat finally!
Now I am finally (reluctantly) leaving Europe, after a crazy 10 months here. Adventure continues though, in 16 hours I’ll be landing in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Whoopah!
“I saw that ‘charity and save the world’ stuff on your business page, you don’t ever actually do that stuff do you? It’s just marketing yeh?”
It feels good to give.
In fact, I am firm believer, as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, that giving is the greatest gift. Everyone can relate to this. When you give a good gift, like a really nice gift, and you see the appreciation, or see the present being worn months later, you feel pretty chuffed.
For giving through business, it’s no different. Unfortunately, as pretty much every company these days claims to be ‘doing social good’ or ‘saving the environment through ethical and moral production yada yada’, the trust in the ‘giving’ seems to fade.
Hence, the question stated above. This was a real question I received earlier this year in regard to the charities and donations we make through Namaste Collective.
Now to be completely honest, I don’t blame him for asking – it is true that a lot of companies use giving as a marketing tactic and never follow through with it at all.
Some academics have even suggested to me that they think that ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) is simply a marketing buzz word (for the record, I disagree).
However for us, giving was in our top aims in setting up this business – and to date, we have given away, through various charities, causes and promotions, more than we have actually gained ourselves.
Why give when you can keep?
In this fortune.com article, 4 primary reasons for integrating philthropy into your business were given, being:
- Building respect and a good reputation in the community.
- Making your community a better place to live.
- Employees respect leaders who do good.
- Connections and networking.
While all of these are true, and definitely valid, they do seem to miss one main factor that resinates with me.
It feels good.
For some, money is a big enough motivator to keep pushing forward during the shit times of business. To decide to pull a late night. To feel satisfaction at the end of the day. But if you are anything like a lot of people, the act of giving will feel even better.
Sometimes, you’ll see a direct effect your ‘giving’ has, and this will feel great. We have had this a few times where you get thank-you letters, or constant updates as to how your help has continued over time. It’s a very good feeling.
Other times, you’re hard earned money may simply be transferred into some large corporate charity bank account and you will never hear about where it went. It will be a figure on your spreadsheets.
Sometimes people will notice that you gave, and you may get a little bit of recognition, and this can help boost esteem. Other times, you will do it without anyone noticing at all.
Recently, Samara and I decided to try a bit of a social project with giving through Namaste Collective, whereby we have offered to giveaway our Moroccan Bags, valued at over $150 for free, for anyone who ‘needed’ them this Christmas.
We publicly provided the discount code (HUMANSAREKIND) and basically explained that for some, Christmas can be shit. Really shit.
Gifts are expensive, especially if you have kids. And we wanted to help.
The result? It turns out humans really are good (at least it seems so). Numerous people have claimed the bag (without needing to justify their actions whatsoever), but no one has seemed to blatantly take advantage of the 100% discount where they don’t ‘need’ it.
This felt good.
Were we making clear losses on this giveaway?
Will it bring in some company value in terms of ‘goodwill and reputation’ anyway?
Perhaps a little bit, yes. Bag sales were not as good as expected and storage can be expensive. However, regardless, they would have sold and made profit, but we decided this was a good option.
Did this below message make it all worthwhile?
Answer: definitely. Even if all of the other people claiming bags have been doing so a bit sneakily / not really needing them, the fact it really helped this one person makes it worthwhile.
Long story short, implementing ‘giving’ into any business venture you are following is always a good idea. Not only does it actually physically help others, but it also gives you another internal reason to keep pushing forward in the hard times. You need as many reasons to keep-on-keeping-on as possible.
Alrighty then hero – What is the ‘Charlie Spike’ business doing to save the world?
Good question, currently nothing, and I am still actually working that one out.
Although a company can just donate to any cause or charity, it makes more sense to implement ‘cause related marketing’ to your giving. For instance, if it is a beachy brand, it makes more sense to aim to be helping the ocean, disabled surfers, animals etc.
This is not imperative, but in the long run, it makes more sense, and it will end up more successful in terms of your connection with the cause (it will feel more relevant and you will end up working harder for it), and it will also be easier to implement within the brand personality you have created, rather than the stock standard “Charity – We donate to Charites” corporate page on the website.
Make it something that can work long-term and that really resonates with you as a person – This is what I’m currently working on with Charlie Spike. Who knows, maybe one day I can morph Charlie Spike into a fully charitable organisation… Not so far fetched and something I’d love to do.
Update – actually in Sri Lanka now, rushing to edit this post and get outside again, woopah!