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Give and take (then give some more)

Posted on: August 24, 2015 | Author: ATB Business & Agriculture

When it comes to giving back, Jacqueline Jacek, owner of JACEK Chocolates, has always had socially conscious pursuits built into her business plan. Many new business owners start out with similar ideals, but with demands on time and capital, it can be hard to follow through.

Here are three of Jacqueline’s tips on how to choose and support your favourite causes while still running your business:

  1. Choose initiatives that align with your brand

    It’s confusing for consumers when you do something that doesn’t connect with who you are. Jacqueline believes her business is all about providing joy, so she wants any organization she supports to have a similar image.

    That makes Bulembu, an organization that supports orphan care in Swaziland, a good fit. Bulembu also values sustainability, another pillar of Jacek’s brand.

  2. Have a give back strategy (and don’t forget to hold back!)

    Having a strategy to determine who and how you will support is key. “You could go out of business giving back to all the requests that you get,” warns Jacqueline.

    As much as you might love every cause that walks through your door (JACEK Chocolates gets around ten requests for donations or sponsorship a week), realize it’s not possible to support everyone who asks. Your strategy will help prevent you from giving too much and ensuring what you do has a more meaningful impact.

  3. Remember, you’re still running a business

    Giving back is a great thing to do for your community. But if you’re still in the startup stage of your business, it can be hard to balance giving back with the bottom line.

    Try looking for ways to support certain initiatives without taking a loss. One strategy JACEK Chocolates uses is a non-profit rate. Charities are able to purchase products at a 30% discount.

    ”It makes an even playing field for the charities,” says Jacqueline. “This means that we don’t make a profit, but there are no losses either, so it is a fair option for those that want to use our chocolates for their charity events.”

Putting a priority on giving back and building it into your business plan right from the start can be extremely rewarding. Find your focus, and then make a plan that aligns with that focus. Even if all you can give is a small amount of your time, it’s a great way to start!

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