Last week we started talking about how to decide on a charitable organization to support. One way to find out is by talking with your staff about ideas they are interested in. Here are the next steps.

Gauge the interests of your clients. If you know most of your clients well, you may already have a good indication about what their passions are. Even if you think you’re sure, ask. Send an email or letter to your clients and let them know that your business is interested in supporting a local organization and that some of your business’ passions include those broad areas of interest (helping the homeless, caring for children or supporting veterans, etc.).

Ask clients to rank those areas of interest and also provide an opportunity to communicate with you about any other passions they may have that haven’t been listed. It’s possible that those clients who respond will shed light on an area of interest you and your staff didn’t discuss in detail. This information is not only a key component in choosing the organization your business will support, but it also provides you with an additional marketing opportunity to capture your clients’ interests and passions.

Next, look for a common theme in the thoughts and opinions you’ve gathered from your staff and clients. Research organizations in your community that match the common theme you find and make contact with the top two or three you’d like to support. Ask them to come to your office, sit down with you and discuss how your company may be of assistance. It may be that you feel most comfortable providing financial assistance to one of their programs or events or you may be more comfortable with helping them start an event and serving as the presenting sponsor.

Contact local media and tell them about the event and organization you’re working with. Ask if they can assist in providing public service announcements (PSAs) that help get the word out about your event. Utilize social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your company website and blog to promote the event and your involvement.

In the end, you’ll have done a great service to an organization in need of your help. In the process, you will unite your staff and clients behind a common purpose, further solidifying the trust and confidence they have in your business. If we know one thing to be true, trust and confidence can’t be bought, only earned.

For more on supporting charities, see:

Good deeds are great for business

Cultivating community connections

Look at your brand for answers

Brooks Brown is the director of marketing and public relations for Brogan Financial, Inc., specializing in brand identity, media relations, client communications, and social media. For more information, go to http://broganfinancial.com.