6 business benefits of supporting community projects
Supporting projects in your local community isn’t just a good way to give back; it makes good business sense, too. Contributing to the health and wellbeing of the local area that supports your business can help build your brand, improve staff morale and retention rates and even increase your bottom line.
Staff engagement and morale
Enabling and encouraging employees to spend time outside of work doing positive things for their community increases staff morale and job satisfaction. The follow-on effects are greater staff retention, and voluntary work can help employees develop useful skills and improve teamwork. Allocating one charity day a year where everyone pitches in to do volunteer work is a small sacrifice for a big reward. Another way to engage your staff is to let them vote for the cause or community project they would like to support.
Supporting community projects says a lot about who you are as an organization and your company’s ethics and values. Being socially responsible and community-minded improves your reputation with customers, clients and the community. According to Cone Communications’ global study on consumers and their relationship with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), 93 percent of people will have a more positive image of a company that is socially responsible, 90 percent will be more likely to trust that company and 88 percent will be more loyal and continue buying products or services. These are stats not to be scoffed at!
These days more consumers are deliberately choosing to spend their hard-earned cash with businesses that have ethical, fair trade, environmentally friendly and charitable practices. When consumers are choosing between two identical products or services, seeing that one business is engaged with the community or charitable giving can easily sway them in that company’s direction.
By giving back to the local community and engaging in volunteer work or fundraising, a business can demonstrate that it’s about more than just dollars and cents. If it cares about the community, it’s more likely to care about its customers too. Community giving is a great way to get an edge on the competition by showing you are a business with a sense of social responsibility. More than eight in 10 consumers consider social responsibility when deciding what to buy or where to shop, which products and services to recommend to others (82 percent) and which companies they want to see doing business in their communities (84 percent).
When it comes to the bottom line, good social responsibility also makes a difference at the till. Consumers are very influenced by “good” businesses, with 90 percent of consumers saying they would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price or quality.
Consumers these days feel personally accountable to address social and environmental issues with their buying habits and want to “partner” with companies that reflect their values. Consumers want companies to act responsibly and this is reflected in their shopping habits, with 84 percent saying they seek out responsible products whenever possible, and 90 percent responding they would boycott a company if they learned it engaged in “irresponsible or deceptive business practices.”
Reduced marketing costs
Generating good press and building relationships within the community are excellent forms of marketing, whether it’s tree-planting, supporting a local cause or charity or donating goods and services to the needy. Your brand and your name are out there in the community and, as mentioned before, consumers prefer to buy from businesses that give back. This won’t replace all of your regular advertising, but word-of-mouth recommendations and visibility within the community can reduce your need to spend money on promotional activities.
A positive impact in the community
Giving back to the community and supporting local initiatives build better relationships and connections, generate goodwill and feel good! For Brad Olsen from OK, Inc. Tire Factory in Okanogan, Washington, the reason for giving back to the community that supports his business is simple.
“If there’s no community, we don’t have any business,” he said. “You want to see that your community is taken care of. I have three children that are all grown up and I have grandchildren. The community supported us when we had kids, when they were growing up. The community comes in and they buy products from us and keep us going, and therefore we can be part of the community. So I feel I’m giving back for what they’ve done for me in the past, too.”