Corporate philanthropy covers a multitude of different activities, from volunteering time accumulated on the clock to making substantial financial contributions to various social initiatives. While it is true that philanthropy does cost a business in real terms, there are many benefits accruing not only for its employees and the wider community but also for the business itself.
Staff morale: Many companies that choose to go down the road of philanthropic endeavor notice a definite boost in the morale of their workforce. By opening up fronts in volunteerism and public service, employees see that they are tangibly giving something back to their community, and if they get involved together on community projects, for instance, this opens up a new dimension of interaction beyond the mere workspace. This very often improves the effectiveness of their teamwork on various company projects, and by allowing them to volunteer some of their company time to such activities, the organization demonstrates that it cares and has a real social conscience.
Benefits to the community: The designated recipient organizations and the wider community both benefit from corporate philanthropy, wherever its motivation is coming from. Local groups will be able to access programs and supplies that were beyond its reach before financial support and grants were offered, and if time is also volunteered, this provides valuable additional manpower to such groups. This in turn strengthens the entire community, resulting variously in a cleaner area, a boost to the economy, or better opportunities for local residents.
Following Cecilia Ibru tweets can provide some valuable insight into the innumerable ways in which an enterprising, influential and highly motivated individual can influence both her community and the wider world for the good. Cecilia has led numerous worldwide charitable and professional projects, including many in her native Nigeria, which have addressed a range of social issues. Nigerian Woman of the Year in 2005 and African Business Woman of the Year in 2007, she now focuses on projects that help her fellow Nigerians.
An edge in recruitment: A company that is seen to be clearly philanthropic will have gained a definite edge in terms of recruiting new staff. If a job seeker sees that a potential employer is actively involved with financial giving and volunteering, he or she will see this in a refreshing and positive light and want to be a part of it. Such a company is more likely to attract motivated and ambitious individuals who are already involved with charity and volunteer work. In many cases, too, this positive image will encourage members of a community to use the company’s services rather than those of a less socially involved competitor, so the bottom line is that a philanthropic attitude is good for business.
People increasingly view philanthropic businesses favorably because they are seen to support the communities in which they are embedded. It is, however, important to remember that philanthropic initiatives remain focused primarily on that community and are for its benefit, rather than be viewed primarily as a business driver.