The Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy

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Corporate Social Responsibility, which encompasses all of the initiatives businesses participate in to make a positive impact on the communities around them, has been a part of the workplace for a long time. Whether it’s the donation of ones time or money, giving back supports causes on a global scale (think foreign aid donations, clothing/food/supply donations in the wake of natural disasters, or volunteer work) or on a local scale (such as donating food to a food bank, volunteering to help students after school, or supporting animal shelters). The energy put into helping one’s community to improve quality of life for one another not only positively impacts those to whom we give to, it positively impacts those who do the giving, too.

Companies like Google, Lego, Intel and Microsoft are amongst some of the leading companies fully embracing social responsibility. According to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for theYear 2018giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 5.4% in 2018 from the year prior, totaling $20.05 billion. That same report also uncovered that foundations and corporate giving programs accounted for a majority of donations, highlighting how important the act of giving to important causes, really is. Charity is meant to be done for public benefit, relief and to provide assistance to people at times of need in any part of the world, helping to foster a better quality of life for humans and animals alike In 2018, substantial growth was seen in giving to international affairs and environmental / animal organizations.

Philanthropy’s Impact on Employees:

Donating, both through time (volunteering) or money, can actually make your people feel good and happy. The act of helping others triggers a release of a chemical that boosts ones mood and counteracts the effects of the stress hormone. When that good mood hormone is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine (aka the happy chemicals)! Long story short, helping others helps your employees in the following ways:

  1. Greater sense of connection to colleagues and to their company 
  2. An increased sense of pride and ownership
  3. Better mood & more feelings of happiness
  4. Improved sense of wellbeing

Philanthropy’s Impact on the Business:

1. Increase employee engagement and productivity: Philanthropy programs that involve employees foster stronger employee connections to one another and their company. The personal impacts that giving has on individuals translate into their work, which can increase employee engagement and thus productivity.

2. Improve company culture: According to a Deloitte study on volunteering, Millennials reported being “twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive” if their company participated in workplace volunteer activities.

3. Attract top talent: As the lines between personal life and work continue to blur, employees are looking for employers who not only offer them a pay check and benefits, but those who also support their passions, charitable giving included. While Millenials are a main proponent of this, other generations agree. According to Givinga, 78% of employees want to be an active participant in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, 58% consider CSR commitments when deciding to join a company and 51% will not work for a company that doesn’t have a strong CSR commitment. 

4. Increase sales: Charitable giving or volunteering can improve brand awareness and attract new customers who associate your company/brand with positive social responsibility.  This can be done by marketing your giving initiatives to the public. When weighing between two similar services or brands, consumers are likely to choose that which supports important causes.

5. Receive tax deductions:  Donating to charity provides companies with financial gain. While this shouldn’t be a sole reason to put CSR initiatives in place, it is a benefit. Tax deductions from charitable giving can be received. Just be sure to consult with a finance professional to ensure compliance with all tax requirements.

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