What We Can Learn From Companies That Give Back

money-652560_1280By Rebecca Phillips
By now almost everyone has heard of brands like TOMS and Warby Parker that have built their businesses on
giving back to those in need. However, you don’t always need to devote your entire business to giving back in order to make an impact.

By establishing your business as one that cares, you can build a good reputation to help attract customers and recruit talent. Many customers want to feel good about the products they buy and the businesses they support, so giving back can attract customers that would rather fund a business that gives a portion of its earnings to something philanthropic. Additionally, studies have shown that company culture plays a large role in whether a Millennial would want to work for a company, and a company focused on offering volunteer opportunities or contributing to a cause can help create a good work culture. These are just some of the many reasons giving back can benefit your business.
Since there are several ways for a business to give back, here are some options for how your company can get involved:
Volunteering: This is probably the most direct form of service your company can engage in. Having employees volunteer in your community can help your company establish a relationship with consumers and businesses in your community. For example, RLF client CNL Financial Group feels strongly about empowering its employees to be actively involved in the community and provides each of its employees four hours of paid volunteer time each quarter to spend on the causes most important to them. Additionally, CNL also organizes several volunteer activities for its employees. And, as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, our client Michael Baker International has committed that its 5,000 employees will collectively volunteer 75,000 hours in 2015.
Donating to a cause: Partnering with a nonprofit can be an easy way to give back to the community. Donating just a small percentage of earnings to a certain cause or organization can really add up over time while also raising your brand’s profile. For example, earlier this year, RLF client Fuel in a Bottle Energy Shots announced it would be giving a portion of its sales to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, a nonprofit that helps families of firefighters who have died in the line of duty.
Other companies can give back by donating its products to worthy causes. For example, client Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN believes in supporting local organizations and giving back to the communities where Biscuitville restaurants are located. Each year, the company donates more than 23,000 scratch-made biscuits to schools, nonprofits and businesses to support fundraisers, charities and special events. The company also encourages its restaurant operators to support local organizations and the causes of its loyal guests. These philanthropic efforts and donations support Biscuitville’s mission and strengthen the company’s connection to the community.
Pro bono work: For professional services companies, doing pro bono work in your community can help those in need while also giving your company a chance to showcase its talents, while also building new relationships.
Create a foundation: Companies can also take matters into their own hands by creating a foundation that contributes to something they really care about. For example, CNL has a foundation which helps to fund programs and projects related to education, leadership and entrepreneurship, arts and culture, homelessness and poverty and health and wellness.
Just choosing one of these ways to serve others can make a big impact. Whether on a large or small scale, giving back can make a significant difference in your community and your business. Not only will you be helping those who need it, but your company can thrive from the sales and talented workers you can attract by your business getting positive PR.