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Corporate philanthropy takes many forms beyond monetary contributions. It can involve stock donation, donation of products or services and employee volunteerism.
There is a widely held belief that businesses have a social responsibility to contribute to the good of the local community — and sometimes beyond. They are part of the fabric of society, and must use their resources to improve the communities in which they do business.
Doing good can reap many benefits for the doer, and to pretend that this is not a motivator is silly. But, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Corporate philanthropy can increase your company’s value. It can create an image that gives you an edge over your competitors. Improving the conditions of the community around you can help build strong relationships with community and government leaders, which may present fewer hurdles to accomplishing certain goals.
Some businesses may find improving the economic conditions of the people in a certain area helps enhance their customer base over the long-term. Companies that donate to universities, for example, may gain access to new ideas, technical expertise, collaboration opportunities and the like, all of which can benefit their business. Employee volunteer programs have been linked with increased retention of workers. Surveys have found that employees of companies that provide corporate-sponsored volunteer programsreport greater commitment to their company and greater job satisfaction. It may also help recruit better workers as surveys have found that companies with a high involvement in charitable giving were perceived as more attractive to jobseekers.
Marketing your cause, both inside and outside of your company, is an important component of success. This is not just about getting some good PR, but maximizing your initiative’s effects. First and foremost, you need to begin building the culture of philanthropy in the walls of your company. You need to make everyone understand the goals and how it can benefit the business. Develop a program that is more than just giving money. Writing a check is helpful to whoever is one the receiving end, but over the long term, the most successful strategies are those that integrate numerous strategies. Look into employee volunteer programs, corporate matching to encourage employee contributions and donations of products and services. Carefully think about your target audiences and stakeholders — pitching your program to senior executives will certainly require a different tactic than your consumers.
About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of topics related to corporate philanthropy; she particularly enjoys reading about the efforts of successful corporate leaders, such as William Lauder Estee Lauder.
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