• The Business Case for Corporate Community Involvement

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    What if I told you that giving back to your community was a great business development strategy? Or, that giving back could help you recruit top talent, reduce turnover, and make your employees more productive? What if dedication to your community could increase your brand’s reputation and improve customer loyalty? Would I have your attention?

    Employee Engagement 

    According to Gallup, only 33% of American workers are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. These highly engaged employees, according to a recent PwC study, “put in 57% more effort on the job—and are 87% less likely to resign—than employees who consider themselves disengaged.” Higher employee engagement levels are linked to a range of positive business outcomes such as higher productivity, sales, and profitability, as well as lower absenteeism and turnover. 

    How, then, does a company go about engaging the other two thirds of its workforce? One way is through community involvement – what Gallup calls “moving from paycheck to purpose.” 

    More than ever, employees are driven by mission and purpose. We spend so much of our time at work, we want to feel like our work matters. According to Cone Communications, “88% of millennials [who will make up 75% of the global workforce in the next 5 years] say their job is more fulfilling when employers provide opportunities to make a positive impact.” In addition, “three quarters of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.” 

    In addition, according to Covestro, “68% of executives believe their employees would be more engaged in their work and perform at higher levels if they had opportunities to be challenged by working on purpose projects inside and/or outside the company.” And, “83% of executives believe skills-based volunteerism could help employees satisfy their desire for purpose and hone their teamwork and/or leadership abilities, develop new skills and/or strengthen existing ones (77%), and become more engaged and productive in their own work (67%).”

    Reputation & Consumer loyalty

    According to Cone, 86% of Americans expect companies to do more than make a profit, they should also demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental issues. More than two decades of benchmark data illustrates a growing positive correlation between a company’s community commitment and its reputation and consumer loyalty. In addition, Cone’s research indicates that 87% of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.

    Finally, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that 56% of consumers agree that companies that only think about themselves and their profits are bound to fail.

    Community Engagement Components

    If your company doesn’t have an active community engagement strategy or if you haven’t been focusing on it as a key business driver, now is the time to integrate community into your company. Click here to learn the basic steps for launching an employee volunteer program and an employee giving program. And, here are a few additional components you might consider: 
     
    Philanthropy Employee Engagement Sustainability Ethics &
    Governance
     
    • Corporate foundation
    • Corporate giving program
    • Sponsorships
    • Scholarships
    • In-kind giving
    • Matching gifts
    • dollars for doers
     
     
    • Workplace giving
    • Food/clothing drives
    • Walks/runs
    • Day of service
    • Volunteerism
    • Skills-based volunteerism
    • Nonprofit board service
    • Loaned executives
     
     
    • Green practices
    • Supplier sustainability
    • Responsible product sourcing
     
     
    • Employment policies and practices
    • Pay/Benefits
    • Professional development
    • Health/wellness
    • Diversity, equity & inclusion
    • Company values & purpose
     

    Resources

    If you’d like to learn more about community engagement or corporate social responsibility, here are a number of resources to get you started:
     
    Read Follow Attend Get Involved
         
    • Favorite companies
    • Thought leaders
    • Associations
    • Publications
     
         

    I’d love to learn how your company is engaging in the community and how these efforts have contributed to your business success!

    Katy Moore is the Managing Director of Corporate Strategy at the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG), a powerful network of more than 100 of the largest and most respected philanthropic institutions in the Greater Washington, DC region. She is also the founder and director of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, an executive certificate program for CSR professionals offered in partnership by WRAG, Johns Hopkins University, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
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