“Years of experience and months of research have strengthened our belief that doing well by doing good is more than just a catchy phrase. Corporations that apply rigor to creating effective marketing and corporate social initiatives can help build a better world and enhance their bottom line.”
– Philip Kotler, David Hessekiel, Nancy Lee in their book “Good Works!: Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World…and the Bottom Line“
Talent Attraction and Employee Retention
We all like to work for a cause, a purpose, a goal that brings value toward a better community or world. Spending most of our waking hours at work means less time and energy for any additional activity, howsoever strong be our desire to volunteer or to contribute to social good.
When companies offer employees an opportunity to volunteer or support causes they strongly feel about, they address the lack of engagement that is hugely evident in today’s workplace. Employees feel proud and motivated to be a part of the organizations’ shared vision of corporate philanthropy. It’s the happy feeling of giving that is incomparable. Employers who are not involved in corporate giving and volunteering programs might be missing out on attracting top talent.
According to a 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT survey, 61% of Millenials said a volunteer program would be a factor “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits.”
It’s easier but costlier to hire new employees, and presumably difficult but cheaper to retain existing talent. With little efforts from the company’s CSR or corporate giving programs, employers can see increase in productivity, higher retention, better image and cost reduction. It’s the best type of giving that perhaps gives back more!
Some organizations also report on identifying and encouraging leadership within the organization through many corporate giving initiatives. The Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM’s largest philanthropic initiative, is one of them. Employees offer time and expertise to tackle real-world challenges and have honed on their leadership skills through creating sustainable solutions for the community.
IBM’s Doris Gonzales described the good their Smarter Cities program is doing for the cities involved and the good the program does for IBM. They credit their corporate giving with
- Increased employee engagement
- Reduced employee turnover
- Strengthened employee skills
- Strengthened customer relationships
- New market opportunities
Positive Reputation Building
Apart from improving employee engagement through corporate philanthropy, the major positive impact is on the organization’s overall reputation. Promoting a corporate culture of giving, philanthropy and/or corporate social responsibility has a positive influence on consumer behavior. According to 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study report:
Americans’ inclination to shop with broader social needs in mind is clear and on the rise. 88% would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit if given the opportunity, and more than half (54%) has done just that in the past 12 months, compared to 41 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 1993.
Corporate giving strategies can bring great returns to the company through employee engagement, retention and recruiting top talent.
Three steps to keep the program credible and ongoing:
- Maintain high level of transparency, encourage feedback and highlight employee efforts through company-wide information sharing.
- Develop and communicate effective policies through a dedicated CSR or social giving group within the organization.
- Soliciting support and suggestions from employees.
Making Corporate Philanthropy a way of Work
In an interview with KQED, Marc Benioff, the co-founder and CEO, talks about why he thinks tech companies need to invest in communities where they thrive.
“Get out and do something good for somebody else.”