Donating as an Investment
Giving to cause is an investment in your reputation, an investment in your customers and an investment in your employees — so why is it not treated that way?
In a world where we increasingly choose to drink our lattes out of reusable cups, we tut (shamefully — but we do it) at those who don’t recycle and feel like we are part of making a difference. Our clients and customers are noticeably more discerning about their choices too; They choose brands and providers who do more than just sell us something. And whether you’re a one-person-band or a new brewery, this affects you.
One solitary cup is not going to change our problem with plastic, but you feel like your cup may influence a passer by, that it matters. You order the more sustainable hake not the overfished cod. One fish? It matters. Small actions become revolutions. Revolutions change the way our world works.
But we know why we are doing these things. Because at our core, we know (unless you’re Nigel Lawson) that the environment matters and social issues matter to the overwhelming majority of us.
This is why Salesforce.com, Dove, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Adidas, the list goes on and on, donate time and money to cause. But wait. I deliberately choose these names because they are the big dogs. The ones people are really looking at when we say “companies should contribute more!” But why?
Yes they have enormous footprints across the UK (and the globe), but we have 5.7 million SMEs on this tiny alien shaped island with the big bum. It’s these SME communities that really have the capacity to be the biggest force of change.
But each one of these MDs/CEOs/Founders, is a business owner/director first and foremost. There are priorities: cashflow, funding, payroll, budgets for marketing and software and office space etc.. Understandably, even though the stats show giving intent is huge, it rarely makes it onto the agenda let alone the priority list.
For most small business owners nothing is scarcer than cash and the last thing they are likely to be thinking about is ‘giving some of it away.’ But, as mad as it might seem it often makes sound commercial sense to do so — what if you looked at giving in the same way you looked at your marketing spend? Rather than it being something else that is ‘taxing’ on your business — it’s an investment. An investment in your reputation, an investment in your customers, an investment in your employees — an investment in your business. And with any investment you expect a return.
Not convinced? Well let’s take a look at the facts. Research shows that:
87% of businesses said corporate responsibility activity had a positive impact on their company’s reputation. The Charity Aid Foundation’s Corporate Market Study (2012)
55% of online consumers around the world surveyed said they would pay more for products and services from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility (2014))
Businesses with a clear ‘Brand Purpose’, those seen as making lives better, grew three times faster in value on average over the past 12 year. Millward Brown BrandZ 2index (2017)
And for all those big enough and ugly enough to have employees…The Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement study revealed that 64% won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility values and that 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. And it isn’t just about the millenials, the biggest contributors to cause are older people and women.
So there it is — your ROI. Think you don’t have the resource to implement changes like this? Think again. Work for Good is a vehicle. A plug and play CSR tool if you will. We help businesses donate to cause, help them with their promotion of their activity, give advice where needed and provide a network of other like-minded businesses for them to engage with.
Businesses aren’t able to support charities commercially unless they are compliant with the Charities Act as a Commercial Participator. Briefly, a business must make an agreement with any charity it intends to give to. As a result charities understandably don’t engage much with SMEs in this way but lament the loss of unrestricted income (their lifeblood). Here’s the “short” version of the Commercial Participator clause and if that wasn’t enough to get you revved up, here’s the mind numbing full version.