The business side of corporate community investment

This past Tuesday I attended a SCPRSA luncheon. The presentation was hosted by Bari Love, of Jackson Spalding Atlanta, and she addressed how – even in today’s economic climate – organizations must continue to deliver financial return, while also giving back to its communities.

According to Love, the business benefits to corporate community investment are significant, including increased consumer and employee loyalty.  And let’s face it, in these tough times, it’s smart to invest in activities that keep employees happy as they can be the best brand ambassadors (also, turnover can be costly!).  She also made a point to say that companies involved in their communities are able to create:

  • Brand differentiation
  • Build new and deeper community networks
  • Improve relations with regional/federal governments
  • Enhance credibility and education information
  • Access to knowledge and experience to aid in research and development

She also mentioned it’s crucial to partner with organizations and develop volunteer programs that make sense to your company’s core values, as well as conduct reserach before, during and after the programs so you are able to report back the return on investment.  After all, CEOs and CFOs are interested in how all programs affect the bottom line.

It was a great luncheon and we had an amazing turnout. 

I’d love to hear from some of you to learn how your clients are involved in their respective communities.  How did you identify partners?  How do you measure success?  What have the results been so far?

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2 Comments

  1. Great article Kim….corporate giving is a 2 edged sword for me. On one side, its great that companies get involved because the community so desperately needs their help. In fact, i am currently involved with helping A Childs Haven (www.aChildsHaven.org) raise funds to upfit a building that allows them to reach more than twice the number of kids they currently assist. However on the other side, i struggle with corporate giving to some degree in that I am not sure how i feel about making the decision for employess about where money should be donated on their behalf. From my understanding, contrary to popular belief, the bulk of charitable giving comes from individuals, not businesses. Would the money have a bigger impact if it was passed on to employees to let them decide personally on how to invest it in their community?

  2. Thanks, Rick. According to Bari’s presentation (and Giving USA 2008), corporate giving reached an all-time high in 2007 and cause marketing matches a brand/organization to a relevant issue, with relevant being the key word. Therefore, I think it’s typically most important for companies to link with organizations or create programs that make the most sense to the brand.

    However, you also can implement programs that allow volunteers to choose where they would like to invest their time/money and offer incentives, such as paid time off, bonuses and also recognizing those who go above and beyond with awards. For example, Erwin-Penland supports Hands On Greenville as an agency but also allows individuals the ability to take a PTO day and spend the day at the volunteer organization of their choice.


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