You know, in today’s economy I’m probably not the only person that’s forgot about the option of donating your company services. I really haven’t forgot about it, but I’m guessing that, like me, it just might not be on the top of your list of things to do. We’re all concerned about keeping our boats afloat. We have stresses from all levels at work and at home and the last thing that we have time for is free work, right?
Well, I’m here to help you change that way of thinking. Up until now we’ve provided discount options to non-profits and companies that we appreciate, but I’ve always been too, well, busy to even consider it. But I think that donating your services every once in a while might turn out to be a good thing on several levels.
Here are some ways that donating your services can help you grow your business AND help you do some good in the process.
1) Personal fulfillment
We’re in business to make money of course. We have to pay the phone bill and put food on the table after all. But every human being has a deep need to feel fulfilled at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if you fold a pile of laundry or close a $20,000 business deal, we all need to feel like we’ve accomplished something at the end of the day. One way to do this is to feel a sense of fulfillment by helping someone or an organization by donating your services. I can almost guarantee that you’ll feel better about your place in the world after the deal is done.
2) Free advertising
Beyond the good feelings that you’ll get – and the ultimate benefits that will come from you donating your services – there are some tangible benefits that you can get as well. Depending on who and how you donate your services it’s quite possible that your donation will be announced or advertised to the public. Even if the gesture is posted on the client’s website or in a newsletter, you’re company name will be attached to your good deed and word will be spread to others that might be in the market for your services.
Similar to free advertising, donating your services to an individual or organization will connect you to their network. For those who understand the power of continuous networking, this one is a no brainer.
4) Opportunities to trade
Donating your services doesn’t have to be a one way street. You may offer to donate your services and then talk to your new client about the possibility of how you might be able to get some tangible results from the deal. Maybe they guarantee you an advertising spot on their website or their newsletter. Maybe they offer to provide their services to you for free in the future if there is a need. Maybe they agree to help promote your business to their network. The possibilities are endless and they don’t have to involve money or time, just a creative agreement to help you or your business in some way.
5) Future profits
If you donate your services you’ll usually put a limit on what you’re offering. So in the future there might be an opportunity to turn them into a paying client. Approaching business like this is a good way to get the ball rolling if you’re just building your business. Offer your services for nothing or maybe for a deeply discounted rate if you’re able. Then as you begin to gain a foothold these clients that you’ve helped in the past will hopefully be coming into their own as well and they won’t mind paying your usual fees. Again, another great way to tap into the network of others and grow your business.
6) Tax deductions
Now, this is an area that I’m not going to go into detail about because I’m not qualified, but consider the possibility that you can write off your donations. For example, I recently donated a complete website and hosting to a local Rotary Club auction. The complete value of the donation is completely tax deductible – Not a bad added bonus to giving to an amazing organization.
Really, if we have the time we should always consider donating our services. Even if it’s not attached to our business dealings. I plan to do this as much as possible in the future and involve my family. But there are personal and tangible business benefits of doing this on a regular basis when the fit is right. Give it a try sometime.