So, you want to make a difference in your community or with a cause close to your heart, but you don’t know where to start. Well, start with this quick guide. Then you’ll be able to ask the right questions and figure out that donation program you’ve always been meaning to get to.
Working with charity is important for all businesses, but first you must plan on how much you can help. I have no doubt that you have sat down in front of a spreadsheet, created a budget of your current sales and expenses and forecasted the future. (If you have not, here are four reasons why brewers should build a budget.) With your budget in hand, here’s a quick guide to aid in budgeting for your donations.
Determine who you want to give to
Make sure that the events and organizations you support make sense for what your business goals are. If you are a new brewery just starting in Colorado, do you really want to support a small nonprofit in Delaware? Most likely not. Here are several questions to answer to help you determine which charities you would like to support:
- What types of charities are you most passionate about?
- What types of charities fit in with your brewery’s brand?
- Do you want to give to political or religious-affiliated organizations?
- Do you want to donate to organizations that work with youth?
- What geographical areas does your brewery serve or plan to serve in the future?
Answer these questions and you will start to have a more defined giving program.
Decide what kinds of resources you can leverage to help the community
There are many ways you can give back to the community that do not cost any money, such as donating your tap room space to a group that just needs a spot to meet. List out all of the resources that you have that could be utilized: space, staff time, swag, product and cash. Be creative and see if any of these resources could be coordinated to benefit a charity. For example, to support an event with a silent auction item, you could donate a growler and combine a coupon with 50 percent off a first fill.
Once you have a list of resources that can be tools to help charities, estimate the retail value.
With donations, you cannot help others unless you ensure that your brewery is good to operate for the future. Do you have enough product brewing to serve customers in the taproom? How much product do you need to serve in the taproom and attend the four beer festivals you will be at this month? Are you saving cash to put a downpayment on new equipment or to try to pay off debt more quickly?
Now, plan your donation allotments per resource per quarter. How much of potential profits do you want to spend on supporting the community, connecting with customers and being a good corporate citizen? Remember, some of these donations are tax deductible as well.
You have a pretty basic budget and outline of your donation program to help support your community. When receiving requests, use the criteria of the groups you would like to support and the quantity you have allowed yourself to donate to decide if you can fulfill the request.
Over the Long Haul
Track how much you are donating, to whom you’re donating, and what kind of impacts are being generated. Check to ensure that the charities to whom you’re donating and the resources you are donating are benefitting the community.
Finally, as your brewery grows, utilize your resources to make a bigger difference. Find a way to make a long-term impact by building capacity; create an initiative of your own that the community knows it can rely on.
If you need help with donation management or budgeting, feel free to contact Confluence. We have very affordable services to help save you time and improve your connection to the community.
Brian Phipps is a Colorado native and passionate about helping the community. He learned the importance of volunteering and giving back through organizations, friends and family and has worked in the nonprofit world for 10 years with several corporate partners to obtain donations, as well as publicize and report returns on those contributions. For more information about Confluence LLC, be sure to check out the company’s website.