With 91% of the global population wanting to see businesses do more than make a profit, this expectation has translated into companies increasing their efforts in one area: community investment. Whether a financial contribution is made or a company-wide volunteer day is organized, these actions and contributions are what constitute community investment.
However, knowing what defines community investment might not give your organization the impetus it needs to launch a CSR program and engage in community work. Therefore, we have laid out five benefits of why your business should invest in the community.
Community Investment Benefits
1) Builds a favourable brand image
Based on their previous interactions and experiences, how do consumers and employees perceive your brand? This is known as brand image.
A prospective employee in the process of interviewing with your company might look through your website to assess your values and mission. Of course, your ‘what we do’ and ‘about us’ pages can help communicate your organization’s unique identity. But beyond the mainstream information about your scope of work, a prospective employee may want to know your stance on community investment:
- What types of causes have you partnered with?
- How often do you partake in community investment initiatives?
- Do your employees frequently participate in these initiatives, as well?
Addressing these questions is what helps to build a positive brand image in the minds of these prospective employees. When a job candidate positively associates your brand with generosity and altruism, these attributes will not only attract highly skilled employees, but it is also what will retain them.
And communicating your community investment strategy doesn’t only create a positive brand image in the minds of employees; it also influences your consumers.
Customer acquisition and retention are two goals that any business is trying to achieve through effective marketing, high-quality products & services, and customer support efforts. While these three focus areas can influence a consumer’s perception of your brand, community investment provides a powerful competitive advantage, helping to strengthen how these consumers view your brand.
2) Aligns with stakeholders’ standards
Businesses that invest in their communities and have a sense of purpose beyond just making a profit are likely to see positive impacts in terms of employee satisfaction and customer loyalty. Let’s look at some research below:
Employee: Research shows that a significant percentage of the workforce wants to work for companies that invest in their communities. A Millennial Employee Engagement Study by Cone Communications uncovered that 64% of Millennials wouldn’t consider a job or company if it doesn’t have strong CSR values (in other words, investing time & money back into the community). This finding is significant, considering that Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.
Why are there 64% of Millennials that won’t consider a job or company without a solid community investment strategy? Because Millennial employees have personal ethical standards. Their underlying ethical standards are built on respect, concern for others, fairness, etc., When an organization focuses on contributions and actions that better society, it aligns with these ethical standards that Millennial employees uphold.
Consumers: Companies that prioritize community investment is becoming an even stronger standard among consumers. A Futerra study found that 88% of consumers want the brands they support to be environmentally friendly and ethical. Consumers are increasingly looking to support brands that put people and purpose ahead of profit—an ethical standard they believe in and hold businesses accountable to meet.
Additionally, a Nielsen survey found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact, further demonstrating that consumers are willing to buy from (and pay a premium) for a company’s product or service that aligns with their standards.
3) Supports local and global communities
Employees and consumers will likely be attracted or retained as a result of community investment efforts, but it is the local and global communities that will always benefit from these efforts.
For example, volunteering at a local after-school program can help to improve the education of children in the community, while donating to a local food bank can help to alleviate food insecurity.
Community investment isn’t confined to aiding your local community; global communities can also reap the benefits, as well. For example, fundraising can be executed virtually, helping a handful of global causes provide clean drinking water, expand financial access, or preserve natural systems. Regardless of a nonprofit or charity’s vision, the money your organization raises (even from halfway across the world) has a direct impact on these causes, making their vision possible.
4) Increases employee retention
Research shows that companies who commit to CSR—investing their resources into the community— can reduce staff turnover rates by 50%. You may wonder, however, how community investment initiatives can lead to increased retention.
Let’s look at a community investment initiative, volunteer work, that involves employees on a regular basis to support this finding:
- An organization supports workplace volunteering, offering paid volunteer time off and encouraging its employees to discover causes on a social impact platform.
- Employees are able to seamlessly find volunteer opportunities on the platform to lend their assistance.
- Each volunteer day an employee partakes in provides a variety of benefits: development of soft skills, increased fulfillment, and added community connections.
- As a result of volunteering, employees feel a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and pride. This is because they are doing something beyond their 9-5 regime (that is supported by their workplace) while making a difference in the lives of others.
- These inner feelings lead to employees feeling a stronger sense of belonging to their company, resulting in higher job satisfaction and increased employee retention.
5) Fulfills your purpose
With a shift towards purpose-driven companies (as stated earlier, 91% of the global population wants to see businesses do more than make a profit), community investment initiatives help organizations fulfill their purpose.
Disney operates with a powerful purpose in mind: to create a better world. However, unless there are actions behind this statement, it is only a claim. To fulfill this purpose, Disney undertakes a variety of community investment initiatives, such as in-kind donations, employee volunteering, and collaborations with nonprofits.
This example of Disney illustrates that purpose and community investment initiatives are inextricably linked. Disney’s purpose would never be fulfilled unless community investment initiatives are undertaken. And community investment initiatives would never be executed if there wasn’t a purpose—a driving force—behind them.
These 5 community investment benefits are a direct result of focusing your organization’s resources on bettering the world. A start to reaping these benefits is finding the right causes that are in need of volunteering, donation, and fundraising assistance.
Looking for a place to start? Kambeo helps businesses of any size discover causes in their local and global communities. Browse through thousands of nonprofits & charities and find your next community investment initiative at the click of a button.