5 Unexpected Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy

Many businesses are inspired to start corporate philanthropy programs because of the potential positive impact they can make on local nonprofits and other charitable organizations. But plenty of companies are surprised to learn that corporate philanthropy, as a part of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, offers significant internal benefits as well. 

Generally, there are five unexpected benefits corporate philanthropy offers businesses:

  1. A reputation boost
  2. Increased customer engagement
  3. Improved recruitment
  4. Better employee engagement and retention
  5. Mutually beneficial community relationships

Taken altogether, as summarized in Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s corporate philanthropy guide, creating a CSR program allows your business to realize the full potential of your brand as a force for good. 

1. Boost your reputation

Some of the best examples of successful corporate philanthropy programs have corporate philanthropy baked into their DNA. For these companies, like Bombas and MiiR, corporate philanthropy isn’t just something they do. It’s one of the reasons why their business exists in the first place. To replicate their success, start by intertwining your philanthropic mission with your business’s purpose. 

Bombas is a sock company that donates a pair of socks to homeless shelters for every pair that consumers purchase. If your business is a boutique pet retailer, you might partner with local animal shelters to donate your extra merchandise or pet food. 

In addition to boosting your reputation, your philanthropic activities can also increase general awareness of your brand. Whenever you host a community volunteer event or make a major donation, you can send out marketing materials to promote these initiatives. For instance, Forbes gave Bombas publicity due to their corporate philanthropy program. In the same way, you’ll be able to promote your business’s name and logo as you promote these philanthropic activities. 

2. Increase customer engagement

Your CSR efforts can lead to greater customer engagement, which can, in turn, help improve your bottom line. Alongside a desire to invest in a good product or service, consumers weigh the philanthropic efforts of the companies they do business with. In fact, 47% of global consumers reported that they make purchases from brands that support a good cause at least once a month. With a solid corporate philanthropy program that you communicate clearly, you can keep current customers on board and attract new ones.

3. Improve employee recruitment

Fostering workplace giving and volunteering can improve your new employee recruitment efforts by making your workplace more appealing to purpose-driven workers. Corporate philanthropy is especially appealing to younger candidates like Millennials and Gen Z. In fact, 77% of recruiters believe that offering employee engagement opportunities is an important recruitment strategy to attract millennial candidates. 

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and Gen Z is growing in numbers across various industries. Your business must appeal to the interests of these generations using a CSR program if you want to attract top candidates.

4. Uplift employee engagement

Engaging employees in CSR initiatives helps them feel more engaged in your workplace as a whole. CSR research consistently shows that companies that offer corporate philanthropy opportunities see higher employee engagement and retention rates. 

By offering a robust CSR program with multiple ways to get involved, such as donating and volunteering, you can appeal to employees’ desires to do good in the world. This can make employees feel more fulfilled and develop a business culture that prioritizes positive community goodwill. 

Improve employee engagement in your CSR program by offering a wide range of opportunities, including:

  • Corporate volunteerism (including both in-person and virtual opportunities) 
  • A matching gift program
  • A volunteer grants program
  • Volunteer time off (VTO)

You can also increase employee involvement in your philanthropic activities by designing your CSR program with employee feedback in mind. Use a corporate volunteering software that allows employees to suggest volunteer opportunities they’d be interested in and what days and times work best for them to volunteer (you can do all of this in Submittable). Employees will be more likely to get involved when your opportunities align with their preferences and interests.

5. Mutually beneficial community relationships

When you take the time to build genuine relationships with the nonprofits and charities in your community, you can foster long-lasting mutual support. 

For example, your business can provide volunteers for nonprofit volunteer opportunities, in-kind donations of supplies or equipment, and direct donations. Meanwhile, your nonprofit partners can promote your business as a valued sponsor of their cause. This can include your name and logo on their event t-shirts, banners, corporate sponsor web page, and other marketing materials. 

Don’t underestimate the benefit of these strong community partnerships. They can help build your organization’s reputation, improve employee morale, and strengthen your community as a whole. 

The benefits of corporate philanthropy don’t stop here

A robust CSR program can foster a positive workplace culture, better customer relationships, and sustainable community relationships. That makes corporate philanthropy a must-have business priority for organizations that want to reach purpose-driven customers and employees. The more corporate philanthropy and CSR programs you run, the more benefits you’ll see. With Submittable, you can get your program up and running in a matter of days.

Eric Thompson

Eric is a content marketing manager at Submittable with an interest in the future of technology, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility. When not at work, you can find him running the trails around Missoula.