Leading the Way: Why corporate citizenship can be good business

  • Photos
April 1, 2014 | 3:08 am

As companies step up their giving this holiday season, their employees devoting their time to ring bells at shopping centers, I wondered, what if employers stopped letting employees volunteer and stopped giving back to the community?

Most not-for-profit and community organizations have a Rolodex of go-to companies for any number of resources to include in-kind donations, facilities, volunteer leadership and minor and major corporate giving.

Without this support, most of these critical community agencies and organizations would languish or cease to exist.

Make no mistake, the negative social and financial impact without the existence of not-for-profit support organizations would devastate any community.

So what are the upsides? The intangible benefits of corporate citizenship include the publicity and positive reputation gained by that organization for their efforts.

More important are the tangible results corporate benevolence brings directly to the agencies, community support groups and the many clients they serve.

The reciprocity of corporate good will can garner greater work force commitment; keeps community relations positive; and bodes well when the company needs local support for expansion of jobs and corresponding need for improved infrastructure.

For those of you who think this is all too kumbaya, consider this from Glenn Gutterman of Triple Pundit:

“When measuring ROI and monetizing the impacts, a company must first measure the change in the intermediary business function — e.g., retention, recruitment, customer loyalty, brand recognition — that can be attributed to the CI (community involvement) program and, second, convert that into revenue or cost savings.

“How? In a much cited study, Sears applied a conversion factor to calculate the ROI of community involvement. It found that a 5 percent increase in employee satisfaction drives a 1.3 percent increase in customer satisfaction, which led to a 0.5 percent increase in revenue growth.

“As such, a 10 percent increase in employee morale correlates to a 1 percent increase in productivity.”

Intangibly it feels good to work for an organization that gives back to the community. And generally speaking, citizens respect leaders who drive company initiatives to support community and not-for-profit interests. Gaining employee commitment and community appreciation goes a long way to support and sustain a good company — much more so than those organizations that hoard good will for themselves.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Allow employees a reasonable amount of time from work to volunteer for a not-for-profit agency — Junior Achievement, Goodwill, Salvation Army, United Way
  • Encourage employee participation in local organizations such as Optimist Club, Rotary and the local chamber of commerce
  • Establish a corporate rotation of volunteers with a local hospitals
  • Organize a company food drive, clothes drive and/or blood drive
  • Work with the school district to volunteer in classrooms or provide school supplies
  • Provide products and participate in silent auctions
  • Purchase a table of seats at charitable events
  • Sponsor a community cleanup day to pick up trash alongside roads, rivers and creeks.

Your organization can have an impact. Corporate citizenship is good business and good for business because it’s a lonely business without reciprocal community support.

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Is there other feedback and/or ideas you want to share with us? Tell us here.

 close  don't show again