American companies make an incredible impact in the communities they serve that stretches far beyond economic development. In fact, Giving USA found that more than $20 billion was donated by corporations in 2018, in addition to an impressive amount of employee volunteerism and other community support. These social responsibility efforts – through foundations, strategic partnerships, philanthropic grants and employee hours – improve community relationships and support programs that would never be possible without financial backing and in-kind assistance.
Despite these benefits, many organizations are hesitant to promote the great work they are doing, as well as to invest in visibility efforts that highlight their philanthropy. We strongly believe that thoughtful visibility efforts create a virtuous cycle – enhancing your reputation and building support for the ideas and causes you embrace. Here are five tangible benefits of sharing your company’s great work with others:
- Providing partners with much-needed visibility
Community partners and grant recipients rarely receive the attention they deserve for their community contributions. By highlighting collaborations and awards, you elevate their position in the community and direct attention to the positive work they are doing. This can lead to greater support from others who learn about the organization’s work and an outsized benefit to the targeted recipients.
- Building relationships with stakeholders
Two-way relationships are important for corporations and their stakeholders. Sometimes those relationships are best achieved by finding areas of shared interest. Once established, these relationships can provide a mutually beneficial channel for dialogue that may otherwise be difficult to establish.
- Demonstrating thought leadership through community investments
Awarding grants and developing partnerships to advance corporate responsibility should not happen at random. Instead, these investments should be made in areas where there is a strong societal need, alignment with your policy priorities and business objectives and a connection to your organization’s interests and/or expertise. Responsibility isn’t separate from your enterprise communication, it is integral to it.
- Making a difference in the lives of people you serve every day
Corporate responsibility often means helping the people with whom you connect on a daily basis – your customers and neighbors. It’s not surprising, for example, that the Business Roundtable recently released a new Statement of Purpose of a Corporation that aims to work for the benefit of all stakeholders – including customers and communities. By partnering with this broad group of stakeholders, companies make clear that their business is directly connected to the well-being of something bigger than their individual organizations.
- Engaging and attracting employees in meaningful work
In today’s job market, engaging and retaining employees has never been more important. 55% of employees say that social responsibility is more important than salary when it comes to choosing an employer. By promoting good work, companies are also advertising to potential hires and enhancing pride among existing employees.
Doing good work is important, but as any non-profit leader will tell you, making sure your work is well-known is just as important. As a leader in your community or your industry you can help attract attention to ideas, causes, challenges and inequities. Don’t hesitate to use your position for good.