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The Business Benefits of Philanthropy

Tiffany Finley | Monday March 14th, 2011 | 3 Comments

If swapping some of your marketing budget for philanthropy sounds like a bad business move, Epic Media Group is here to prove you wrong. Epic is one of several corporations recognizing the value of philanthropic investments to improve brand value and give back to the community. On the surface, this shift may point to improvedbusiness ethics and morals, but below the surface the business strategy is hard to miss. Investing in strategic philanthropic efforts can connect a company to its own employees, customers, as well as future clients.

Employee productivity, retention, and loyalty all impact the profit-portion of a business’ bottom line. Epic’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Sprouse, found that by connecting with employees on a personal level he could learn more about what is important to each of them. Leveraging this knowledge to decide how to invest company philanthropic dollars and volunteer time has enhanced the human face of their business immensely. Large companies continually struggle with employees becoming numbers in place of people. This simple switch can increase employee involvement, retention, and productivity.

By selecting 30 different charities to receive financial or other forms of aid, Epic was able to focus only on organizations that employees were involved with in some way. Connecting these dots lead to the realization that clients and strategic partners were also closely linked to these charities, increasing Epic’s visibility and strengthening their relationships. This type of targeted advertisement is better known as ‘cause marketing.’ By companies connecting with charities to aid them in their work, the company also receives positive marketing out of the relationship.

One of the chief misinterpretations of corporate charitable giving is that it must always be in monetary form. Volunteering, fundraising events, and publicity are also ways in which business, big or small, can help bring awareness to charitable work in their community. Even small donations can make a big impact on small organizations. So connecting the dots between employee interests, client investments, and strategic philanthropy can lead to healthier relationships. Charities receive donations, and companies receive positive publicity, strengthen ties with partners, and increase employee loyalty, making this a win-win for business and the community.


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  • http://www.businessthatcares.blogspot.com Lalia Helmer

    I really like your use of the image connecting the dots between employee engagement with charitable giving. What happens with this type of connection is that it creates a virtuous cycle- what ones gives, comes back multifold. What a great strategy for a business.

  • http://cauzoom.com Michael Sattler

    Great post. One interesting thing about cause marketing at a corporate level: it costs too much to set up. Establishing the relationship, negotiating the terms, execution – the friction involved makes costly and reduces the value to both company and nonprofit. We need to find ways to reduce that overhead and still ensure quality engagements.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-F-Bassill/566743020 Daniel F. Bassill

    Looks like I’m late to this conversation but it’s an important one. There’s plenty of evidence that business and their employees benefit from a CSR strategy, but I’d like to see more case studies showing companies engaging with charities around all of their locations in all cities where they do business. Here’s an article showing roles CEOs might take to build fuller engagement of employees and company resources. http://www.scribd.com/daniel-f-bassill-7291/d/69780156-Role-of-Leaders-How-CEOs-can-help-inner-city-youth-from-birth-to-work