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Give and Receive

When done right, corporate charitable giving can boost company morale and exposure--as well as your bottom line.

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This story appears in the November 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

To many entrepreneurs focused on keeping costs down and milking every cash-flow dollar, corporate giving programs sound like a luxury they just can't afford. But in today's competitive environment, corporate charitable programs and partnerships may be the cheapest strategic competitive edge you can get--not to mention the satisfaction they can bring.

According to the "2004 Cone Corporate Citizenship Study" conducted by Cone Inc., a Boston-based strategic marketing firm, 8 in 10 Americans say corporate support of causes helps earn their loyalty to a business; that represents a 21 percent increase since 1997. The study further found that 90 percent of respondents would consider switching to another company's products or services because of illegal or unethical corporate behavior. And younger Americans, ages 18 to 25, were significantly more likely to consider a company's corporate citizenship when deciding whether to buy from, or work for, that company.

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