Building Brand Equity Through Social Responsibility
Corporate Philanthropy refers to the investments and activities a company voluntarily undertakes to responsibly manage and account for its impact on society. The motivation of corporate philanthropy should be altruistic and mutually beneficial to both the business and the community. Corporate philanthropy benefits companies in many ways. It fosters employee engagement, value within the community, a positive public image, relationships with consumers, and creates a positive culture. Corporate philanthropy is successful, and sustainable, when it is maintained over the long term.
Philanthropy should be integrated into your business plan just like other aspects of your marketing and lead generation tactics. Once the strategic plan, that aligns with business goals, is outlined a tactical philanthropic plan should be executed. Philanthropic measurements are subjective; such as impact to brand equity, social capital, and goodwill for your business.
Consider these steps when developing your corporate philanthropy program:
Define the why for giving – is there a cause employees are passionate about? Improve the community that you operate in? Understanding why will inform the specific tactics you employ.
Identify your stakeholders – (employees, executives, neighbors, suppliers, existing/potential customers). Activities should align with what is important to the target stakeholders.
Align your company's resources —human and intellectual capital, products, skills and volunteerism, financial capacity should all work in support of the chosen nonprofit partners to create meaningful engagement.
Be consistent – your plan should be consistent internally and externally, transparent, and authentic. Do not merely do random acts of kindness, make giving back a genuine element of business success. Promoting values externally and not "walking the walk" internally can do more harm than good, in the long run.
Communicate – create a comprehensive communication plan to share what your company is doing to improve society. Make people aware of your commitment to the community. The best way to communicate your efforts is to have others tell the story. Engage online influencers, the press, and/or customers.
While businesses can do a world of good by implementing a quality corporate philanthropy program, you should ensure each act supports your brand's mission and values while creating value to stakeholders.