What goes around comes around. You've heard it a thousand times, and it's rarely true. There's no real justice in the world. Bad guys often win, sometimes precisely because they are horrible, conscienceless people who don't care about other people.
That's why the recent movement to a culture of altruism is so refreshing. It's a change brought about by the transparency and speed of social media. Companies can no longer hide toxic culture within the silence of cubicle walls. So who is rising to the top? Companies that care.
Here's why you should build your company culture on getting involved and giving back.
1. It Creates Worker Engagement
No generation of young people are more in tune with what's going on in the world than Millennials. They grew up online and know people in every corner of the world. They know what's happening - all the horrible diseases, the underpaid and abused workforces, the egregious human rights offenses. And they care.
There are 80 million Millennials in the U.S. By 2020, they will make up 50% of the workforce. They aren't the "next generation" anymore. They're here. And they matter.
Giving back in your community or to a world cause like clean water makes your company more attractive to potential employees and it makes your workers happier. If they are proud to work for you, they'll be proud to say so. Company engagement is a more compelling reason to stay with a company than more money when it comes to attracting and keeping top talent.
2. It's Social Media Gold
As a bonus, you'll get a ton of social media perks you can use. Your team will enthusiastically live-tweet, take selfies, and share. Take advantage of visuals by handing out brightly colored matching shirts.
You can even make social media shares part of your cause. Nextiva is a company that cares. They always have a charity drive happening, and employees are highly motivated and fully engaged. This month, they are involving their audience in a very tangible way, by donating money for every reshare, retweet, and post about building a new Pediatric Trauma Center at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Offering donations for social media shares is a great way to give back. Fans don't have to make a purchase to participate, and they get the warm fuzzies that come with donating to a very worthy cause.
3. It's Good for Your Brand
Volunteering as a company is free publicity. You'll get press coverage on the local and often national stage, and a loyal social media audience will happily spread your message. You'll grow your audience and possibly interest a new segment of people who care about the causes that mean most to you.
It's important to choose a cause important to your customer base. Find out what they care about. Poll your employees, monitor social media accounts to discover what your influencers share, and do a market research study to identify the causes that best align with your company, your employees, and your audience.
Some brands, like Lush, have baked ethical sourcing, activism, and charity right into their brand. Customers aren't just buyers, they are brand evangelists.
4. It's a Tax Write-Off
As long as you're associated with a registered charity, you can claim contributions and paid employee hours on your taxes. Just keep a record of hours worked and money, good, or services donated, and you can itemize your deductions. As long as it's well documented, you should get back up to 50 percent of your outlay in tax breaks.
5. It's a Must
"Corporate social responsibility is no longer an option -- it is emphatically and indisputably a must-do." - 2013 Cone Communications/ Echo Global Csr Study.
Key findings from the global consumer report:
- 91 percent said they are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality.
- 96 percent say they have a more positive image of companies engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR).
- 94 percent would be more likely to trust the company.
- 93 percent said they'd be more loyal to the brand.
- 85 percent say they prefer to recommend companies that give back.
- 62 percent report using social media to engage with companies around social and environmental issues.
For the first time in history, companies have the opportunity to make more money by doing good. Your customers want brands they like and trust. Your employees want to participate. And don't you? Who doesn't want to be part of something bigger? Who doesn't want to make a difference?