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Intentional Giving As Part of Your Brand Strategy

Posted by: Alexandra Heseltine - Saturday, January 19, 2019

We all know – branding is more than a logo. Branding really is the face and personality of an organization. In fact, long-standing brands develop and change over time as the organization grows but there are elements of the brand that stay consistent. Like a person’s character, a business could be known for its consistent quality, customer service or dedication to their community – all elements of a business’ brand.

Intentional Branding and Identity


Intentional branding, as opposed to accidental branding, encompasses the mission of the company (purpose), vision (future), values and culture before getting into the visuals and messaging. It’s not much different from self-knowledge – knowing who you are and who you are not. On the personal level, most of us take this journey over a life time. With a brand, the process needs to be thoughtfully executed in a relatively short span of time so that the organization can rally around the brand identity and move forward purposely.


Giving as a Brand Strategy

With the holiday behind us, the traditional season for giving, I wanted to focus on how intentional giving could be incorporated into your business’ branding and culture for 2019. Being strategic and using philanthropy as a marketing and branding tool can reap many benefits for a business, as follows:
  • Companies that integrate purposeful giving into their businesses see an average 11% increase in sales versus their competitors.
  • 90% of Americans are more likely to trust brands that back social causes.
  • 85% of millennials are willing to recommend a brand based on their social good efforts.

Brand Culture and Community Support


As part of a brand culture, studies show that businesses who support their community through giving are more likely to attract the right employees and retain them. It could be that employees perceive their job as part of a bigger mission beyond a paycheck.


I recently met Donna Betts of Give with Purpose who helps business’ develop giving strategies that connect with a business’s core values, mission and culture – in other words, their brand. During the holiday season and throughout the year, many businesses are contacted by a variety of charitable organization who are often doing wonderful work but are not strategic in their asks. Most business give until the money runs out but without giving thought as to which organizations they wish to support and that dovetail with their mission.

Here are a few Maine businesses that Give with Purpose:

Gorham Savings Bank, a Maine Community Bank, is deeply embedded in the Maine communities is serves, including its charitable giving that enriches people’s lives through education, business growth and health initiatives. GSB’s giving and non-profit support include financial literacy at high schools, SCORE classes, Junior Achievement, scholarships, business growth competitions and programs, the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, various health and wellness initiatives, Boys & Girls Club, United Way, food pantries, thanksgiving meals and Coats for Kids.

Remax Shoreline, a real estate agency in Portland, Falmouth, ME and Portsmouth, NH, loves being involved with their communities through marathons, rides in the Remax hot air balloon at fairs and events, art sales, golf tournaments and more. The owners believe that being involved is not only good for communities but is good business too.

First Light, formerly Oxford Networks, is a fiber-optic data, Internet, data center cloud and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast and parts of Canada. First Light is also known for its philanthropy and involvement in the community. They support their local chambers of commerce, the United Way, the American Heart Association and many local charities through its Community Matters program.

Edward Jones agents in Maine are especially known for their support in the Alzheimer’s Association. Over the years, agents and their clients have raised thousands of dollars for the organization through participation in walks, events and other fundraisers.

There are many smaller businesses who give generously to a variety of non-profits, many with a strategy for giving that supports the community and their brand and mission. Whatever your community support involves, be intentional about your giving, keep good records, and appoint a single individual as a contact person.

Non-Profits: Returning Goodwill to Supporting Businesses

If you’re a non-profit looking to attract donations, try connecting with businesses whose mission and culture dovetail with your purpose. Also, be aware, that businesses expect that their donation and support will be recognized in the community so be generous with public acknowledgement and appreciation.

What is Your Giving Strategy?

Most businesses are contacted by several, if not numerous organizations, for donations over the course of a year. These organizations rely on community support to continue their mission. Work with the organizations that best mesh with your business’ vales and culture.

If you’re not sure how to develop a strategy for giving at your business, reach out to Give with Purpose to start the strategy process.

If your branding needs a refresh, give us a call at 207-464-0016. We’d love to chat with you.


 Alexandra Heseltine | Marketing pro and creative director with over 25 years experience working with mid-sized to larger businesses and non-profits with experience in the construction, legal, banking and B2B sectors.

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