SHOULD YOUR BUSINESS CONSIDER A PHILANTHROPY PROGRAM?
Some companies proudly publicize their charitable programs. It’s a great public relations effort, but does a business that includes philanthropy as part of its corporate culture reap any benefits?
According to a 2018 study by Mintel, a London-based market research firm, 73 percent of Americans say that a company’s charitable giving influences their purchasing decisions. In that same study, 84 percent believe it’s important for companies to support charitable causes, and 65 percent think it’s a company’s responsibility to give back.
Studies show a corporate philanthropy program can garner positive results, including:
Increased employee engagement. If you offer a charitable program that includes employee involvement (i.e., through volunteering, helping select nonprofits for your company to support, or friendly competition through individual crowdfunding campaigns), you build goodwill among your workforce, which can lead to an increase in job satisfaction and, ultimately, greater productivity.
Improved brand awareness and reputation. Generosity can change the way people who matter to your business — employees, customers, potential customers, vendors — perceive you. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be recognized as a business that supports local nonprofits.
Increased sales. A study done by Cone/Porter Novelli, a communications consultancy, found that when choosing between two brands of equal value, 90 percent of consumers are likely to switch to the cause-branded product.
Becoming a good corporate citizen. Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has helped several local businesses create charitable funds. A passion for helping others and a willingness to share its good fortune with its neighbors increases its positive standing in the community.
Interested in learning more? Here are some ways to get started:
Volunteer. You can enhance your business’ sense of team through group activities. Plan a company-wide day of action. Or provide your employees paid time off to volunteer for an organization that is personally meaningful to them. If you don’t know where to look for volunteer opportunities, a list through the Lowcountry Volunteer Connection initiative can be found at lowcountryvolunteerconnections.org.
Offer pro bono services to a local nonprofit. Many nonprofits, particularly small ones, could use help with operations like IT, marketing strategy, legal assistance, or maintenance services like HVAC or landscaping.
Create a formal corporate-giving program. There are a variety of ways to set this up, from something as simple as donating a portion of your profits, to creating a matching-gift program for your employees.
Special events. Once the pandemic allows us to gather in groups, nonprofits will resurrect their special events. There are opportunities for businesses to be corporate sponsors, provide auction items or purchase tables.
Establish a charitable fund. A number of local businesses have established funds with the Community Foundation. Through these funds, they make grants to local nonprofits or provide scholarships to deserving students.
Scott Wierman is president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.