Can you combine charity and business? According to Susan A. Hyatt, author of Strategy for Good, you can mingle charity and business by being more strategic with your business philanthropy. “Community investment is becoming widely recognized as an essential part of business strategy for companies of all sizes.”
I heard Susan Hyatt speak recently and purchased her book to learn more. Community involvement refers to the many ways a business can draw upon their unique expertise, resources, and connections to actively engage with the community to address local and global issues. This could be cash, in-kind product and service donations, and people power.
1. Business social responsibility is for large companies only. Small businesses have the potential for community impact.
2. Community involvement is a “do later” activity to add after my business is established and profitable. It is easier and more cost-effective in the beginning that trying to tack on later.
3. Community involvement is a fluffy, feel good side activity that would consume my company’s valuable resources for little or no return. Studies show that companies that give strategically consistently outperform those that do not.
4. A company’s community involvement should be motivated solely by altruism. Community involvement based on all-win partnerships is more successful, effective and sustainable than the chairyt model of giving.
5. It is self-serving for my company to tell the community about our business giving. In actuality, sharing your story serves your customers, your employees, and the nonprofits you partner with, as well as your company.
Companies associated with philanthropic activity experience an enhanced reputation with a wide range of stakeholders, including employees, customers, communities, investors, advocacy groups, and government agencies. Increasingly, today’s consumers want to buy from companies that are active in communities and are good citizens.
Another benefit is loyalty gain.
Excerpts and paraphrasing from the book Strategy for Good by Susann A. Hyatt, M.S.