facebook-ebola-donationIt’s no secret that Facebook and I have a complicated relationship. I love their reach and the ease with which I can keep up with friends and fans across the globe. Still, I hate the Facebook algorithm and think they could put more functionality into their apps.

So when I saw that they were encouraging me to help bolster the fight against Ebola in West Africa, I was grudgingly impressed. I like helping people. And I really like businesses who help people. For Facebook to harness their slew of users to help people on the other side of the globe…it’s a good thing. I respect them for it. I respect them more since they ponied up some of their own money for it. Still, when you’re as big as Facebook, even a charitable act is going to inspire an Onion article.

Satire aside, you can use charitable causes as a way to increase respect for your brand and your business (and to help causes you believe in). As alluded to above, there’s a hierarchy of sorts to how much your charitable action means to your patrons. Just putting out a collection box for your favorite charity is not the same as donating your time and/or expertise to help the local community. Hosting a fundraiser can be a huge morale booster for employees and customers – matching their donations is even better.

Of course, it’s likely a good idea to keep religion and politics out of your charity choice. Raising money for families, animals and health initiatives are often safe, neutral options. There’s no sense choosing a cause that will alienate you from your customers. You want them to assist your cause and also become more loyal to a brand they know does good for others – yours.

What charities does your business support?

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