If you’re a business owner or work in corporate communications today, chances are you not only deal with the marketing, advertising, public relations, social media and graphic design for your company, but you also work heavily with nonprofits, fielding requests and handling contributions, event sponsorships and other cause-related marketing efforts. For this reason, it’s important to understand key dynamics and trends in corporate philanthropy.
As VP of communications and a member of the LLC with Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, president of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club and a radio host, television show host and author who highlights giving back, I work in just about all sides of corporate communications and philanthropy. I can say with certainty that understanding these dynamics and trends will allow you to differentiate and grow your business, all while benefiting others and your community. It will also allow you to recruit and retain top talent, and increase productivity as your company becomes more infused with purpose. Yes, giving leads to growth!
In the past, corporate philanthropy primarily entailed writing a check. Nowadays, however, both business leaders and consumers have become more discerning, with heightened expectations for strategic reinvestment, physical engagement and community impact. Companies are now finding ways they can leverage all available resources – financial capital, the time and talents of their employees, and physical assets like their buildings and equipment.
This is exactly why every business needs a “community calling card.” Similar to your business card, your community calling card is how your company is recognized in your hometown and beyond, aside from the goods and services you provide. It is tied to your purpose, a cause that transcends your corporation and focuses on the community.
Building Your Community Calling Card
Your community calling card goes beyond a donation or event sponsorship with a nonprofit. It requires fully embracing and adopting a nonprofit or effort as your own. This is your chance to come up with a unique event that your company hosts and underwrites, which freely draws together your employees and citizens in your community and gives back. Think of your community calling card like your baby; you are fully responsible for its well-being and upbringing. This is your opportunity to serve and engage your city in a meaningful way. It can start small or large, but over time, your community calling card will become one of your strongest brand differentiators, outside of your products and services, because it proactively builds trust.
Consumers And The Community Calling Card
Consumers are now looking at corporate America to be a part of the solution for our local and national problems and, with increasing frequency, they’re deciding where to purchase goods and services based on social impact and the physical engagement they see online or through volunteerism in their community. According to the report, “Millennials: The Next Generation of Consumers,” more than 85 percent of millennials correlate their purchasing decisions and their willingness to recommend a brand to the social good efforts a company is making. So, consumers today are looking for your community calling card.