At GroundFloor Media, we strongly believe in companies giving back to their communities – this will come as no surprise to those of you who know us. We believe in it primarily because we know it is the right thing to do – but we also believe in the concept of “doing well by doing good.”
The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College recently released its 2012 State of Corporate Citizenship report, and its findings certainly support this notion. The report reveals the results of the Center’s fifth biennial survey of business executives on the topic of corporate citizenship. And in it, “executives issue a clear verdict — corporate citizenship delivers real business results. It doesn’t just make ﬁrms look good and employees feel good. It helps to achieve business goals such as increasing market share and managing risk.”
Some key findings from the report include:
- Eighty percent or more of all executives, across all business types and industries, conﬁrm that environmental, social and governance investments create ﬁnancial value for their companies.
- Companies that align corporate citizenship strategy with overall corporate strategy are more likely to achieve important business objectives. With reputation- and corporate culture-related objectives, success was as much as nine times more likely for those who integrated than for those who did not.
- Duration of investment in corporate citizenship appears to have an impact on success with related business objectives. The percentages of those reporting success in achieving business objectives increased as the duration of an average corporate citizenship effort increased. Increases ranged 30 to 50 percent when comparing durations of one year or less versus four years or more.
This last point in particular jumped out at me because companies so often want quick results when in comes to PR, and that includes community relations/cause marketing initiatives. In fact, according to the State of Corporate Citizenship report, pressure to deliver short-term results was one of the factors listed most frequently in terms of hindering the success of corporate citizenship programs. However, as evidenced by this latest research the ROI of such initiatives grows – significantly – over time.
On the flip side, one of the factors listed most often as helping the success of corporate citizenship initiatives was support of those initiatives by managers and executives. This really makes intuitive sense as employees are more likely to dedicate team time and resources to programs if they know they have their managers’ buy-in and support.
The bottom line is that good corporate citizenship is also good business, with benefits ranging from increased market share to improved employee relations in terms of recruitment, morale, loyalty, motivation and productivity. GFM practices this in our own day-to-day business, and we encourage our clients to do the same. In fact, we’ve helped clients such as Bellco, Qdoba, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Starbucks and Corporate Express (now Staples) succeed in this arena.
A wonderful op-ed on this very topic appeared in The Denver Post a little more than a week ago. We’d like to hear your thoughts, too. Where does your company stand on the topic of corporate citizenship? And what resulting benefits do you see?