This week, I’d like to share my 5-minute elevator pitch on how Corporate Social Responsibility can be used as a successful marketing instrument for company branding, talent development and building better client relationships. The link takes you to You Tube.
I’m repeating some of the business benefits below, which I communicated in my blog a few weeks ago, The ‘profit’ in non-profit.
WIN 1 – Training & development: By working closely with HR and Training, you can create exciting training and development programs which answer the learning needs of your young talents and senior executives, while they are giving something back to the community. So, where Community Investment & Involvement (CI&I) is often seen as a cost, you can start turning it around as a long term learning benefit for your young talents and executives, since getting involved in the community develops soft skills, among others.
WIN 2 – Improving client relationships: Invite your clients to join you in your CI&I initiatives. Your staff members not only give something valuable back to the community i.e. knowledge and expertise but, they are also given the opportunity to forge relationships with their clients in an informal setting. This blows the idea out of the water that CI&I is a waste of time and money. Since when was client face-time a waste of time and money?
WIN 3 – Creating brand ambassadors: I’m often amused to hear how many of my colleagues tell me that they get involved in the community with the idea that they have a lot to teach, however, they come away having learned so much more. These staff members are positive, motivated and excited and brilliant brand ambassadors for any company.
WIN 4 – Improving the economy by helping NGOs: Your company may be able to help charitable third parties with the knowledge and expertise of your staff members. Offering advice which these NGOs may otherwise not have been able to afford. In the case of Fair Chance Foundation, we’ve developed financial literacy programs that we implement in schools by training-the-trainer (the teacher) or by giving interview skills training and lessons in entrepreneurship, etc. to students. We’ve chosen topics that are close to our core business and therefore, easier to teach. Our view is that the more we invest in education, the more of a virtuous circle that we create. The longer children stay in school and get a better education, the less likely they are to knock on the door of social welfare (where available) or be dependent on their families. Instead, it’s our hope that these children will be educated enough to be able to find work, or to become entrepreneurs. And when more people work, the economy becomes better, which is automatically better for business.
So Community Investment and Involvement (CI&I) is beneficial for business and is positive for the brand, talent and leadership development and for improving client relationships. Don’t get involved if you want to make a fast buck. But if you’re in it for the long run, the spin-offs are extremely ‘profitable’ for your business but even more so for the NGOs that you help.