Philanthropy is the New Corporate Benefit

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The modern workforce is composed of more and more workers who view philanthropic programs as fundamental to their choice of employer and their satisfaction at work. Philanthropy in the workplace is a broad concept; in this particular article, it can refer to everything from Corporate Social Responsibility programs to volunteer opportunities in the community or the donation of money or services to charity.

Trees in sunset

Fortune reports that millennials – the generation that dominates the workforce, according to Pew Research Center – prefer to work for companies that in some measure give to charity.

The survey (cited by Fortune) of 2,000 people found that:

• 2/3 of the millennial respondents were more likely to work for a philanthropic company.
• This number is compared to 59% of respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 and 47% of those between 44 and 64 who would choose an employer based on a
philanthropic focus.
• Millennials were more likely to buy from and recommend a company that contributes to charity.

Thanks to this younger workforce with its strong philanthropic bent, corporate giving is becoming a more and more important priority. According to statistics from the National Philanthropic Trust, corporate giving increased to $18.46 billion in 2015, 3.9% higher than giving in 2014.
Clearly, corporate philanthropy is on the rise. Read on to learn how this trend impacts businesses:

The Triple Bottom Line

Organizations like Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and many of today’s other large businesses – where younger workers make up a significant portion of the company – are instituting innovative philanthropy programs that allow workers to volunteer or give back in some way. For instance, Fortune highlights a Goldman Sachs competition in which young analysts vie for grants to be given to nonprofits of their choice.

In bids of “compassionate capitalism,” companies large and small are instituting philanthropy programs that can help them to accomplish a number of goals. These programs often improve employee satisfaction – feeding a fundamental need of the younger generation, for instance – while also solidifying company reputation and and supporting community initiatives.

Philanthropy programs are not limited to helping only people or the direct community – they may also be oriented toward contributing to causes like the environment. Programs may focus on both community issues and global issues. However, there is unique value in focusing on a triple bottom line: a bottom line that considers not only the corporation and its profits but also other people and the planet.

Sustainability and Corporate Philanthropy

For corporate leaders, being aware of how business practices affect the world has its own benefits. We are entering an age where more people are able to see the need for sustainability practices on all levels.

To tap into a rising philanthropic trend, organizations can do anything from supporting volunteer events to fundraising for conservation-focused organizations to adjusting their own practices to be more sustainable.

One of the most prominent motivators for focusing on sustainability has been merely an increase in awareness of how current and past business practices have impacted the planet. From global warming to polluted drinking water to oil spills, corporations are able to see that what they do today in their companies will greatly impact what state the planet will be in tomorrow. Leaders also know that their target customers are aware of this impact, and can see the value in aligning with growing environmental activism.

Through actions as simple as installing motion-sensor lights, recycling, decreasing the company carbon footprint, and setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, businesses can improve sustainability efforts and ensure that those within the organization are aligned with greener priorities. The PNC Financial Services Group, for instance, made a 30% carbon reduction goal in 2009, to complete by 2020. According to Yahoo Finance, PNC projects that it will actually achieve its goal by the end of 2017.

A PNC official noted to Yahoo that, “we recognize that environmental concerns, including climate change, may impact our business, our clients and the communities in which we operate, and that by reducing our operations’ emissions, we can lessen our impact while serving as an example to others.” PNC is not only contributing to an overall environmental cause by lessening its negative impact on the earth, but its own form of corporate philanthropy/Corporate Social Responsibility is also helping the company solidify its reputation and its place as a top company to do business with and work for.

Many businesses also choose to do more by actively supporting their communities through promoting a buy-one, give-one culture, investing in sustainable causes that employees care about, and creating volunteer opportunities and partnerships that allow employees to work to make a difference.

Benefits of Corporate Giving

Perhaps one of the most powerful impacts of growing corporate philanthropy is a more engaged workforce. When employees feel like they are making a difference and doing something good for their community, they are more likely to be motivated, satisfied and energized on the job.

As a result, more companies are building employee engagement strategies around volunteerism. A Forbes article on the topic highlights the important requirements a corporate philanthropy program must meet to be successful:

• The program should be ingrained in the company’s mission and culture.
• The philanthropy “must be led from the top.”
• The program should offer a number of different ways that employees can get involved.
• It must be “tied to actual impact.”

Employees like to know that what they do counts. Many have an innate need to feel important, valued, and appreciate that they have a higher purpose. Empowered employees become motivated and hard-working employees, which benefits the company bottom line.
Additional benefits of corporate giving include:

• Building a good reputation
• Earning employee respect and engagement
• Developing new and different connections in the community through nonprofits and other corporate giving partnerships

Spreading Good as a Corporate Leader

Working in the nonprofit world is no longer your only option if philanthropy is important to you. A number of opportunities in the business world now offer managers the ability to leverage the power of their corporate operations to do good for the environment and in their communities.

Getting your online degree in management can help put you on the path to a more rewarding career where you can make an impact. With an Online Master of Science in Management degree , you can prepare for the future by learning and apply the skills you need to today.


Compassionate Capitalism Is Possible Through Effective Corporate Philanthropy