By Kayla Matthews
Businesses everywhere have the resources and reach to provide a major positive impact in their communities. Whether it's by supporting a local charity, voluntarily teaching skills to others or sponsoring an event, participating in acts of "giving back" has extensive benefits for a business well beyond the obvious benefit of helping the community.
A community-minded business will reap benefits from its charitable mindset, including positive PR, high employee morale and improved connections — all areas that can aid in long-term profits.
These multi-faceted benefits make it easy to see why giving back to the community should be a major goal for all businesses. Businesses are tending to agree at a growing rate: Philanthropy grew for 64 percent of companies between 2010 and 2013, in addition to increasing by more than 10 percent for 52 percent of companies.
Improved employee morale
One prominent benefit of a business giving back to the community is the response from employees. Typically, if employees see that their employer is committed to giving back to the community, they will gain more respect for them. A work environment with a highly respected leader results in more communication and efficiency, since morale is likelier to be improved in a work environment where the leader is trusted and respected.
Similarly, if an employer gives their employees an opportunity to give back, they will feel more fulfilled in their work. According to business philanthropy consultant Erin Giles, the ability to volunteer provides employees with leadership opportunities that can increase staff performance and provide a better sense of fulfillment.
People love feel-good stories, so it’s a good thing for willing community-minded businesses that they are easy to create with them at the forefront. It’s easy for a business to use giving back as an incentive to appear in news outlets positively, especially if it’s a public gesture like sponsoring a local charitable event or holding a free workshop for the underprivileged.
Positive news has a tendency of being shared rampantly on social media, which on a local Facebook group can be a fantastic way for a business to gain exposure in addition to becoming a well-respected presence in the community, resulting in more clients, profits and overall connections.
Philanthropy can be a wonderful gateway into a network of professionals and leads alike that can help elevate a business from obscurity to prolific success. Philanthropy organizations often include the “who’s who” of corporate bigwigs on their board of directors, because they understand how integral philanthropy is to a business’ success and public perception. If a business owner can touch shoulders with these types, they have the opportunity to grow their business at a rapid pace.
Similarly, giving to their local community can provide a business with connections to local leaders — such as government or religious figures — who can rapidly make a business the local “go-to” for that specific niche with their endorsement.
A great example of this was when Facebook donated $120 million to schools local to the community where they relocated, easing local resident’s fears that the tech giant’s arrival would be a negative. Now, because of its local connections and giving, Facebook is revered in the community.
Other similarly savvy examples of businesses giving back include:
- Apple wisely values the role of an employee giving their time to philanthropic efforts, matching employee donations to charities and raising over $50 million as a result.
- Google’s community programs represent a great example of a business using their vast resources to give to a variety of causes, from accessible education to seed funding.
- CJ Pony Parts partnered with Make-A-Wish to give a Mustang-loving boy battling heart issues a day he won’t ever forget, complete with a fun Mustang ride and free swag.
- Pepsi shows a value for community service and volunteering via a wide array of programs, in addition to matching any employee donations to charity up to $10,000. Plus, if an employee donates over 50 hours to a single organization, Pepsi will match their donation at a 2:1 ratio.
These are just a few of many very successful businesses who have witnessed the positive impacts of giving back to the community.
Get your business to start giving back, and see what positive impacts you can make!
Image by Gabriel Santiago via Unsplash
Kayla Matthews is a healthy living writer and blogger who writes for The Huffington Post and The Climate Group. Follow her on Facebook or atProductivityTheory.com.