Inspiring growth: Why giving is good for business

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

For a long time, business giving has been the domain of philanthropic giants (think Cadbury, Unilever, John Lewis). For many smaller businesses, it’s been left to employees or adhoc donations at Christmas. There are simply too many other competing pressures for giving to good causes to be at the top of the pile.

But we live in a changing world, where customers, employees and communities expect more from business than just a single minded focus on the bottom line. As the world becomes ever more uncertain, and environmental and political risks stack up, there is an increasing need for trust and belief in the good.

Businesses who can show their value in actions and inspire their people and their customers, will do well.

How does giving benefit your business?

Social responsibility can start with something as simple and as powerful as giving as part of your business; and this will give your company an extra competitive edge in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

  1. Business giving will build your reputation

87% of businesses said corporate responsibility activity had a positive impact on their company’s reputation.

2. Business giving will enhance your relationship with your customers and drive consumer preference

64% of businesses reported a positive impact on customer engagement [1]

20% of SMEs’ customers would use a company that donates to charity over competitors[2]

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.[3]

3. Business giving will improve staff retention and engagement

64% won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility values

83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.[4]

4. Business giving will drive growth

Businesses with a clear ‘Brand Purpose’, those seen as making lives better, grew three times faster in value on average over the past 12 years[5].

How larger companies have embraced doing good

Large corporates have been swift to take the lead on social responsibility and are seeing the benefits.

The B-corp movement now encompasses 2,000 certified B Corporations across 140 industries in 50 countries. This demonstrates the success of businesses which build social responsibility into their DNA. B-Corps certified businesses are evaluated in order to meet rigorous standards around their impact on the environment, their workers, their customers and their communities.

We have also seen the increase in purpose-led newcomers such as Toms and Warby Parker who have achieved huge growth on the back of giving. The consumer is prepared to pay a purpose premium if they believe in the authenticity of the brand purpose.

Championing small and medium businesses

Many smaller businesses have yet to tap the potential of giving. That’s where Work for Good can help.

Our platform makes it easy for businesses to build giving into their work in way that’s good for both charities and their business.

Through Work for Good, you can maximise the benefits of your business giving:

  • Make your charitable commitments regular and systematic using the WFG platform
  • Choose a cause which aligns to your business:

It could be a cause that ties in with your business purpose. Our member business, The Hypnobirthing Place, donates 10% of its course fees to charities which help provide safe births around the world.

If local connections are important, support a local cause important to your community.

Or it could be that a charity is chosen because it has a personal and emotional connection to you or your team.

  • Just as powerfully, allow your customers to choose the cause to which you donate. This active choice will engage customers directly, raise awareness of your business giving, and enhance levels of trust in your business. Work for Good member Applegarth Farm Shop and Restaurant allows customers to choose from six causes which change every quarter.
  • Talk about your business giving: this will publicise and celebrate your generosity, helping your customers to understand your values and to make a positive brand choice based upon your social responsibility.
  • Display The Work for Good mark with pride. Stand out from the crowd, enhance your reputation and inspire others to follow your lead

If you’d like to find out more about how Work for Good can drive your business growth and enable you to do well by doing good, please get in touch.

[1] The Charity Aid Foundation’s 2012 Corporate Market Study

[2] 2017 research by YouGov for the Greg Secker Foundation

[3] 2014 Nielsen survey

[4] Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement study

[5] Milward Brown’s BrandZ 2017 index