Communities and stakeholders value and expect good corporate citizenship. You don’t have to look far to find examples of companies that make philanthropic donations or sponsor events. Clearly those efforts help the communities where these companies do business, but are these efforts beneficial to the companies? In our experience, the answer is a resounding yes, and the research supports this position. According to a study by Cone, 91% of global consumers expect companies to not only make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.
Further, the Center for Effectively Philanthropy (CECP) recently released their 2016 Giving in Numbers Brief stating, “Leading companies are tapping The New Competitive Advantage of societal engagement; a majority of companies saw increased attention from new stakeholders, such as the investor community, recognizing that societal commitments are good for business.”
Now that corporate philanthropy is more commonplace, companies of all sizes are measuring the impact of their Corporate Giving programs, and seeing positive results. Management teams and corporate boards are looking for evidence that investments in corporate citizenship are paying dividends, not only to the communities but to the business bottom line. One way to assess the impact the impact of corporate philanthropy is to review their annual CSR report. Most are filled with the pictures and stories of how their programs make a difference.
Here are a few of the many benefits of Corporate Giving programs that we have seen through our work supporting hundreds of well-known companies.
Corporate Giving is fundamental to your core brand values and how those are portrayed both internally and externally. Authentic philanthropy programs support company values and aren’t just PR driven.
For instance, leading grocer Wegmans provides donations to local communities and empowers employees in those stores to make giving decisions. This commitment to philanthropy is a key reason that Wegmans is one of the most loved grocery chains in the country. They do far more than just write checks — they offer a mission to believe in.
Giving programs help attract and retain the next generation of talent. According to a Deloitte survey, 70 percent of millennials studied listed their company’s commitment to the community as an influence on their decision to work there. Staff loyalty and commitment increases when companies engage employees through volunteerism and give them a voice in decisions about how the company invests its philanthropic dollars.
2. Impressions in the target community
Companies want to be known as good Corporate Citizens. By serving the communities they work in, companies with corporate giving programs build their brand reputation more effectively than those brands just focused on profit. In Cone’s Global CSR Study, consumers state that they have a more positive image of (93%), are more likely to trust (90%) and are more loyal to (88%) companies that support social and environmental issues.
Quicken Loans provides significant support to the city of Detroit and they give back to the community. Among other programs, the company has provided generous donations and close to 1,000 hours of volunteer service to Forgotten Harvest, a non-profit dedicated to relieving hunger in Metro Detroit.
3. Tax benefits
Corporate Giving programs, such as product donation, can offer tax advantages if you’re donating to organizations that are listed as 501(c)(3).
Panera Bread provides a great example of effective product donation.Their Panera Gives program provides gift certificates or fresh bakery products to nonprofits hosting charitable events. Panera’s Day-End Dough Nation donates unsold bakery and bread items to organizations that aid with hunger relief (and also other non-profits).
4. Sampling your product
How will you support to the communities you serve? You don’t have to look far beyond the products or services you already provide to consumers.
Wyndham Hotels, for instance, donates hotel rewards points. This allows them to not only do good in the community but also get the word out about their hotels. They are able to tie their donation program to their product and build their overall brand reputation. Another not-so–obvious example comes from Waste Management. The company donates garbage disposal services to fundraising events.
The benefits of a Corporate Giving program(s) far outweigh the costs. From building employee and customer loyalty and retention to reinforcing positive brand values, your business will reap a multitude of benefits by investing in good.