Doing Good While Doing Well: 3 Ways to Bring Purpose to Your Business

Donating money helps, but, nothing compares to hands-on, thoughtful philanthropy.

learn more about Deep Patel

By Deep Patel

Hill Street Studios | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Corporate philanthropy is a great way to grow your network, build your brand and influence a cause dear to your company. In 2015, corporate philanthropic giving saw a 3.9 percent increase from 2014, reaching $18.46 billion. This figure indicates that, for busy entrepreneurs, it's easier to write a donation check than it is to bring philanthropy deeper into your company.

Balancing work and goodwill takes effort, but a purpose larger than a donation can deepen your company's mission and impact -- while connecting your brand to your community.

Related: 4 Reasons You Should Host a Philanthropic Event

Nick Gross, entrepreneur and musician, is one example of someone who is successfully bringing a deeper purpose to his business initiatives. While working on his creative-branding company, Milky Agency, Gross founded the Find Your Grind Foundation, which works with underserved youth to develop their skills and goals.

These young people have talent in music, the arts or technology, but they often don't have the resources available to reach their potential. Find Your Grind connects them with materials, space and even financial assistance to take their talents further.

"With a goal of teaching young people how to network, learn from each other's experiences and define success for themselves, we ask, "How do you find your grind each day, and how can you share that with others?'" Gross says.

Although he acknowledges that an auxiliary benefit of philanthropy is the networking and inbound branding Find Your Grind's efforts garner, philanthropy is about more than the potential boost to your brand or the tax write-offs.

For entrepreneurs looking to make a difference, here's how to get started:

1. Actively partner.

Business might be competitive, but philanthropy is collaborative. If you notice another company taking on a similar cause, don't try to outdo it -- make it your ally. You'll be able to achieve more together, while making connections.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Enhance Local Communities

Gross's first philanthropic priority is Find Your Grind, but he participates in similar organizations' efforts to empower youth. This summer, Gross's band, Half the Animal, played at Clayton Kershaw's annual ping-pong tournament to raise funds for at-risk youth. Kershaw's organization's mission aligns with Find Your Grind's, but partnering -- not competing -- puts more power behind each organization's goals.

Keep an eye out for opportunities such as this and take advantage of them when they arise. Who knows -- you might have complementary skills that take each other's missions even further!

2. Make better decisions with data.

One of the leaders at the intersection of philanthropy and technology is Fluxx, which has built innovative solutions to create a more accessible and transparent ecosystem for foundations and nonprofits.

"When funders and nonprofits have more access to data and an easier ability to share stories, greater impact is realized," says Jason Ricci, founder and CEO at Fluxx. "Leveraging technology and the insights it produces empowers organizations of all types and sizes to better assess their strategic priorities, track dollars to measurable results and produce fresh perspectives."

3. Generate interest.

Bringing purpose to your business means your employees need to play a role. Doing service takes passion. The amount of enthusiasm your employees have for your cause can make or break your influence -- especially today, as one of the top three factors that motivates millennials to get involved in a philanthropic cause is passion.

They may work for you in the office, but treat them like partners in your philanthropic efforts. Learn what they're passionate about. Would they rather partner with local communities or global ones? Do they want to work with youth? Environmental causes? Find common areas of interest that will excite everyone, and you'll have a team ready to serve with passion.

Related: The Mindset and Skills That Millennial Entrepreneurs Need for Success

Taking time to connect with a cause and bring purpose into your business is what makes a true impact. With a driven team, likeminded partnerships and work that doubles as goodwill, making those connections should come easily.

Writing a check might take only a minute, but it could never accomplish the results that hands-on, thoughtful philanthropy achieves.

Deep Patel

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Serial Entrepreneur

Deep Patel is a serial entrepreneur, marketer and investor. He is the founder of the wellness brand Penguin CBD. The company was rated the No. 1 CBD brand of 2020 by Snoop Dogg’s Merry Jane and was acquired in May 2021. Patel also worked with companies like Cellucor (maker of C4) and A.T. Kearney.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Growing a Business

5 Tips That Can Help You Seize Every Opportunity Your Next Industry Conference Has to Offer

Discover five ways to make the most out of the marketing, networking and personal and professional development opportunities a professional conference affords you.

Business Solutions

This Comprehensive Microsoft Excel Course Can Turn You into a Whiz for $10

Master Microsoft Excel for less than the cost of your lunch with this top-rated course.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.