Should You Promote Your Company’s Altruistic Work?

I believe that giving back to your community is important. We at JP Enterprises Unlimited have a strong history of helping to support Christian charity groups and continue to do so because we feel that helping those in need is the right thing to do. My Christianity is an integral part of who I am and I have tried to run our business according to Christian ethics. No, I’m not getting political. Integrity and honesty are not political. Neither is trustworthiness, faithful stewardship, honesty, wisdom or mercy.

We have completed projects for Christian groups and listed their logos on our website as client examples. We do this to show potential customers the high-quality work that we produce at JP Enterprises Unlimited. We’ve also promoted participation in Christian fund drives. We do this so others will follow us in giving to a good cause.

Lately I’ve noticed that many businesses are spending more time and effort on promoting their community good works by  producing whole campaigns on how they are helping out this group or another. This includes store posters, television commercials and pages and pages of web copy extoling their good works. This brings to mind, Matthew 6:3, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”  

In this case Jesus emphasized the level to which Christians need to avoid letting worldly praise motivate their actions. I don’t believe that Jesus meant for all donations to be anonymous. As I said above, you can encourage others to support a cause by telling the community that you as a business leader give resources to a community organization. What I believe that Jesus meant was to check your motivation for giving. Believe that you are truly helping your neighbors. Don’t be a company that supports a cause solely because it will help business.  Your community and customers will know that you are more interested in business than helping. Recently a news story revealed that many companies who extolled their support of human rights also donated to help legislation that would hurt that same cause. Not hard to figure out the motivation in this case.

The height of hypocrisy is when companies spend more time and money promoting the good deed than they did on the actual good deed. Being more interested in who knows rather than who it helps can show selfish motivations that take the “good” out of “good deeds.” As I mentioned above, I’m not saying don’t tell anyone. Be thoughtful about how you inform the community of your altruism. The last thing that you want to do is extoll every single one of your good works on your website. Mentioning one large cause on your website that your company is deeply involved in tells your customers about your values and encourages them to help out as well. More than that looks like what it is, self-aggrandizing. If you are doing this, I suggest that you re-evaluate your altruistic motivations. Ask yourself, are you giving purely to glorify God and motivate others or are you promoting your company? Believe me, if you don’t know the answer, the community surely will think the worst of you no matter if your motives are pure or not.

In my humble opinion, in most cases, I think it’s best to downplay your corporate donations on your main website. Business websites are meant for commerce. Spending too much time adding every one of your good deeds to your website looks more transactional than philanthropic. If you think it’s an important story to tell, use social media. By posting about an organization’s people and work you can help to amplify their work in the community. Tell your fans what a good job this organization does and oh by the way our company supports this organization. You can too. This is why you give in the first place, right?

“Keep on doing the right thing.”

Paul Brierly is Founder, President and CEO of JP Enterprises Unlimited. Paul thanks God for blessing the agency with so many outstanding team members who have won numerous creative awards. He lives in Suburban Pittsburgh with his wife, Nicole.

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