Studies and research have repeatedly and conclusively shown that corporate philanthropy when properly executed – with genuine executive sponsorship and comprehensive employee and stakeholder involvement – goes a long way in boosting employee engagement, productivity, workplace pride, corporate brand, and perception with customers and suppliers. Data has also shown that companies that engage in well-executed workplace giving programs see a genuine boost in sales, profits and shareholder returns relative to comparable companies that do not have giving programs.
As a new report shows, corporate philanthropy is an evolving field where the old model – of donating money to charities and some level of employee volunteering – is giving way to a new breed of activist corporate philanthropy where a company’s Board, executive management and employees are genuinely driven by a desire to leverage their skills, resources and spheres of influence to actively solve social problems and become drivers of the change they want to see in the world around them.
Business in the Community, or BITC, is a non-profit that is at the forefront of encouraging corporations, the public sector and government organizations to develop practical, creative and synergistic corporate philanthropy (CR) initiatives to help tackle key issues. In 2002, BITC developed and launched the annual CR Index where it surveys its 800 core member organizations to gauge the impact of workplace giving programs on corporate results, employee engagement and shareholder returns.
This April, BITC published results and trends from its 2015 CR Index. Key findings point to significantly higher executive and Board-level CR sponsorship in investment and operational activities, and show that the measurement of CR outcomes positively influences corporate performance and produces higher shareholder returns.
As the infographic above shows, survey findings highlight:
- 99% Engagement: 99% of the senior management at its member companies are more engaged in CR than before and incorporate CR into business strategy, product development and investment decisions, up from 65% in 2004
- 82% Monitoring: 82% systemically monitor outcomes of CR engagement, up from 61%
- 85% Tracking: 85% track the financial benefits of CR after making sustainable investments
- 75% Incentivize: Three in four (75%) incentivize suppliers to address key sustainability and workplace issues
- 89% Influence: 89% influence customers to use their company’s products more sustainably, spreading awareness across the organization’s external spheres of influence.
However, despite solid progress over the years, only 20% of surveyed companies include progress against targets and only one-in-four discuss progress at the Board level. So while the survey is encouraging, there’s still a lot more work to be done within member companies, and in spreading CR integration and awareness to thousands of other organizations across the globe.
We laud BITC for getting corporations to champion social causes with a strategy, execution and metrics based approach, and believe executive engagement and sponsorship of CR can deliver broad-based long-term benefits to participating corporations, their employees, shareholders, stakeholders and society at large. So it’s time your corporation became part of this change and leveraged its core competencies and resources to make the world a better place.