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    Why It's Important for a Company to Give Back

    It’s no secret that for businesses to not only survive but thrive, they must be reactive and adapt to ever-changing customer demands and expectations. Now more than ever, consumers expect the companies they do business with to contribute positively to their community. Donating money or time to support charitable organizations is not only beneficial to their causes, but it also benefits you and your business.

    Numbering more than 80 million, millennials are the fastest growing force in the marketplace. They already account for an estimated $1 trillion of the current United States consumer spending, a number that will continue to grow as more millennials reach their peak buying power. According to a 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average), and 2/3 use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has quickly become a main consideration for consumers when choosing where to spend their money.

    Although acts of service should be done with sincerity and without an expectation of direct financial gain, they certainly generate their own rewards. The saying “for it is in giving that we receive” rings truer than ever. Here are a few reasons why:

    1. Making your community a better place to live will earn the public’s trust and loyalty.

    Your clients have a vested interest in supporting the needs of their own neighborhoods. Creating and maintaining goodwill within the community by giving back sets your brand apart from others and gives the public a reason to trust and be loyal to your company. Philanthropic efforts differentiate your business from others because giving back in areas where your consumers live shows that you care about them and the place they call home. This allows you to make a personal, rather than superficial, connection to each of your clients.

    2. Giving back will create and maintain new and existing professional connections.

    Consistent acts of service will catch the attention of like-minded people in the business world that you may not have had the chance to connect with otherwise. Creating relationships with others who give to similar causes will not only double your charitable efforts, it will also give your company access to an array of new professional contacts. Philanthropy aligns your company with a greater cause and opens the door to many networking opportunities for your employees.

    3. Giving back boosts morale and attracts top talent.

    Bringing employees together to get involved in the community is a great way to strengthen their bonds with each other, which can make for a stronger team. Rallying a team behind a united cause gives employees a sense of pride in the company they represent and connection to one another. According to a 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 74% of American employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact, and 51% say they won’t work for a company that does not have strong social commitments. These numbers are even higher for millennials; 88% say their job is more fulfilling with philanthropic opportunities and 64% won’t work for a company with poor CSR.

    4. Charitable acts often receive free publicity.

    In our current digital landscape, the era of “all publicity is good publicity” is over. Today, bad publicity may be the nail in the coffin for businesses. Volunteer work is an opportunity to obtain positive earned media, or news coverage that your company did not pay for. Often, earned media is viewed as more credible than paid media (traditional advertising) because it is independently verified by a trusted third party rather than purchased. Consumers want to hear about how the companies they support invest in their community. By doing so, brands can create a positive reputation for themselves.

    Giving back to your community is a no-brainer. It is worthy, rewarding work that makes everyone involved feel good. Charitable work is fulfilling on an individual level, can strengthen the bonds between your employees, and can result in a positive return on investment for your company.

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    Deborah Gray Marino

    Deborah Gray Marino leads SWBC Corporate Relations as Senior Vice President. With over 25 years of experience in public policy, community and philanthropic sectors. She holds her Agent licenses for Life, Accident, Health Insurance, and Real Estate. Deborah donates her time and serves on several boards and commissions. She was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to sit on the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission; Chair of Women United of Bexar County; and, former San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Tri-Chair.

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