As business owners, we have a unique opportunity to give back to our neighbors, our community, and our planet. The good news is you don’t need to own a large corporation to create a meaningful social responsibility strategy. If all businesses–big and small–made giving back a priority, imagine the impact we could have on the world! Plus, it just so happens that giving back can do more than just make a positive impact in your community. This post will explain why giving back is good for business–and yes, even your small business.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a term thrown around at large corporations all the time. In fact, many corporations have entire teams dedicated to CSR. And it’s not just because all these companies care deeply about their stewardship. Many companies are giving back more than ever to support their brand reputation, stocks, and network. Approximately 90% of companies on the S&P 500 index published a CSR report in 2019, compared to just 20% in 2011.
Regardless of the reason for the rising importance of CSR over the last decade, the bottom line is that companies are doing some good in their communities these days. As a small business owner, you can too. Hopefully, your intentions are genuine, and you look forward to making a positive impact in your community. But if that’s not reason enough to give back, CSR has some cherry-on-top perks.
When customers, clients, and employees know an organization prioritizes giving back, they’re essentially saying we care. Especially for the CEO, it shows the world that becoming a millionaire or billionaire isn’t the priority.
Take a moment to consider brands you trust, brands you love, and brands you tell your friends about. We’d venture to guess they give back, have a CSR strategy, or are stewards in some way. When you donate or volunteer as a small business, you’re adding positive markers to your brand perception–just like these large companies have been doing for years.
Giving back can help set you apart from your competition and earn brand loyalty because your customers are able to feel invested in something more than just your product. Think about brands like TOMS or Patagonia, who have stewardship as a core part of their business model. We view them as trustworthy brands, which helps set them apart from the competition.
Giving back can also help you attract the right clients and customers. Ones who share similar values are willing to spend more with a business they trust (and tell their friends about you too!) When you build a brand known for doing good, people want to get behind it.
The culture of doing good spreads beyond customers and sales. You’re more likely to attract quality candidates with similar values as you create a brand known for its impact and greater mission. And there’s nothing better than a team of value-driven employees who are excited & supportive in the give back initiatives of your business!
Even if you’re a small business owner with a few (or zero) employees, building an impact-driven brand from the start will pay off in the future. If your business has clear values and CSR goals, your growing team will feel aligned from the start.
The impact this has on employee morale is massive. Corporate donations and volunteer efforts lead to an improved workplace culture and company respect. Without getting too much into the psychology of it all, a 2016 Deliotte study showed that millennials were “twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive” if their company participated in workplace volunteer activities. Giving back makes employees feel good about their job and their employer. It’s a win-win-win.
Pro tip: Instead of putting extra profits in your wallet, consider making a donation or giving your employees a bonus for their hard work. The potential positive ripple effects of running a profitable business and giving back are endless.
It’s a bit counterintuitive to think giving money away is good for business profits–but it’s true on many levels.
When you have a business that does good in the world, people want to get behind it. Clients and customers want to support your business because it makes them feel like they’re contributing to a greater cause by working with you. As we mentioned before, they’re also more likely to be brand advocates if they feel they are aligned and connected with your mission.
As you create a web of referrals for your business, your clients or customers will grow without increasing marketing spend. Word of mouth is a powerful thing–especially in the small business community. Recent studies suggest that millennials have driven the social responsibility movement, with 70 percent reporting that they’ll spend more with brands that support causes.
Many charitable donations are tax-deductible too! While we don’t recommend giving back just to save some bucks on taxes, it is a nice cherry-on-top benefit of helping your community.
Starting to see how giving back can be good for your business?
If you’re a solopreneur, it’s not too soon to create a CSR plan for your business. Ask yourself what causes matter to you. Is it supporting the youth in your community, environmental sustainability, or maybe another global cause? Your values as an individual can easily translate into your business’ core values. As long as it’s a cause you care deeply about, you can’t really go wrong.
**Tip: Before selecting an organization to support, be sure to do some research on the organization, what they do, and how much of your funds go directly to the mission they support. This will help you confidently select an organization that you know is making the difference they are claiming to make.
Once you know the organization or cause you want to support, it’s time to figure out how you’ll allocate donations or volunteer time.
There are many options here–just make sure it’s sustainable for you and your organization. If your business isn’t in a position to donate financially, donating your time is a great option.
Whether it’s on your website, social media content, or other marketing collateral, don’t forget to include how your company gives back. Nobody will know about your CSR efforts or how they can help too if you don’t talk about it!
Giving back is not only good for your community, but it’s also good for business. How are you going to incorporate CSR into your 2022 business plans?