In 2018, which is the latest information we have, corporations gave over $20 billion to charity. However, because of the events of 2020, giving for charity got a boost from the government. In short, the CARES Act incentivized charity, including for businesses. Corporate social responsibility, or CSR for short, is an excellent way to rebuild communities.
Recently, philanthropy and capitalism became more aligned. And, it got a big boost when the Business Roundtable decided to prioritize social good. I believe it will only accelerate as more for-profit businesses understand that aligning CSR with their companies helps drive more profit. Corporations and consumers want to do business with socially responsible organizations. And, the events of 2020 with massive unemployment and social disruption is a chance for companies to lead.
Before you think this is only for corporations, understand this, I too have a small business and social enterprise. And, I’m proof that you could do social good, and make money, including in tough times.
Think about it. If you develop a product that could get produced in a more environmentally friendly way, you achieve two things though CSR. 1) You cut costs because there is probably a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to produce something. 2) CSR is a way for you to demonstrate your social responsibility within your community. In other words, customers know you understand social impact. Moreover, they discover your business seeks ways to reduce consumer waste and support socially responsible alternatives to how you do things. Ultimately, that helps you increase profit and close more deals.
CSR is a chance for you to show you care about your community.
I talk about it all the time. Fortune favors the brave; I like to remind people. And today, the bold are those who think differently. They look at the same issues that countless other small business owners do, but they deliver their products from a leadership position. In many instances, leadership could happen with social responsibility. As an example, many small businesses across the country have partnered with us in our Sneakers For Good program. As a result of gathering sneakers (with no expense to them or the community), money gets raised for their local communities.
Social good gives you a competitive advantage.
In businesses, we continually seek to define what we do better than our competition. And, that’s why our shoe drive fundraising brands have the largest market share in the nation. In short, our for-profit businesses succeeded in defining our socially responsible solutions to issues. And, we do it in such a way that seeks to deliver excellence. Because of it, we have a competitive advantage over others. That is how you should think of CSR. If you could develop a product or service that makes things better for the consumer or the world at large, that’s an advantage you want to make sure gets promoted.
Millennials and Gen Z want to work with socially responsible companies.
Let’s face it, Millennials and Gen Z lead the world. Like it or not, marketers seek to sell to these generations more than any other. Because of the size of Millennials and Gen Z, businesses will drive profits for decades to come. If you happen to be older than these two generations, the chances are that you see they are very different from yours. For starters, they are activists, they believe in corporate social responsibility, and they are digital natives. So, there’s one thing they say loud and clear; they want to work and do business with socially responsible companies.
CSR brings more business clout.
As philanthropy and for-profit businesses align, it brings more clout and power to business. That’s just the way it is. Increasingly, we see companies such as Disney, Pfizer, Apple, and GE challenging laws and legislation that they do not see in the best interest of their customers and, consequently, their business. As an example, some companies advocate for privacy and encryption, and we recognize how many companies gave to Black Lives Matter. There’s a reason this is happening. Companies understand they have to stand up for the values and stake a position. In short, in the digital age, it’s much tougher to be neutral.
Finally, I firmly believe that today’s business owners, large or small, have to stop giving lip service to CSR. The fact of the matter is that it makes economic sense for a business to have a strong CSR program. And, it’s good for consumers and the public who get more people (e.g., powerful companies and corporations) fighting to make a difference for the betterment of society.
© 2020 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.