Every day I am struck by how many articles I read on corporate citizens making a social impact. Starbucks is selling bracelets to raise money for local communities in this down economy. Disney provides school supplies in backpacks to children in impoverished neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Most grocery stores ask if you want to round up your grocery bill to support a local cause. These examples are just a few of thousands occurring around the world: corporations engaging in social impact.
If you are a small business owner or a large corporation, you may be struggling with how you want to make an impact. This blog focuses on two mechanisms: 1) Philanthropy (donating dollars), and 2) Volunteerism (allowing employees to donate time and talent).
Philanthropy doesn’t always mean setting up a foundation or donating a percentage of profits. It could mean offering consumers an option to add a dollar to their purchase at checkout to a cause you support or it could mean setting up a funds matching program that supports employees by matching their funds.
Volunteerism sometimes means letting employees work on a project pro-bono, participating in Habitat for Humanity as a company or division, or giving employees extra, paid time off per year for volunteering around the world.
Each category requires a sound strategy to ensure that your CSR reflects company values and expands the mission of your business. Here are the benefits to consider of these two options:
– Financial support allows other non-profits and projects to fulfill their mission
– Engages employees in making a difference
– Provides a tax benefit
– Improves teamwork and camaraderie
– Improves employee morale
– Increases brand equity
Regardless of the method, companies today are aligning their social responsibility with employee and company values, thus making a difference internally and externally. Now, that’s impact.