Today’s savvy consumers hold businesses to a higher standard, and it’s now largely expected that companies give back to the communities where they operate. And let's face it, this just makes good business sense.
According to a recent survey conducted by Cone Communications:
• 87 percent of respondents said they would purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about, while
• 76 percent said they would refuse to buy a product from a company that supported an issue contrary to their personal beliefs
And one of today’s fastest growing market segments, millennials, now 80 million strong, are embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR) like no other generation before them. According to a recent article from the Huffington Post, 66 percent of consumers overall are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand while 73 percent of millennials indicated a similar preference.
In this tight labor market, an employer’s CSR program is also increasingly important when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of millennials found that nearly 60 percent are intentionally looking for employers whose sense of corporate responsibility matches their own.
Depending on the size of an organization, components of a CSR program can include:
• Supporting nonprofit organizations and issues that are meaningful to the community and to employees
• Supporting employees’ volunteer efforts by allowing them to volunteer during working hours
• Matching employee donations or making contributions on employees’ behalf to nonprofits the employees are involved in
• Sponsoring employee volunteer days where groups of employees can take on a community project such as cleaning up a playground or serving meals to people in need
Throughout the Denver metro area, there are amazing examples of companies taking CSR to a whole new level. One such company is Bellco Credit Union. Now 81 years old, Bellco continues to build upon its longstanding history of giving back to the communities it serves by donating to more than 100 local community organizations and sponsoring more than 50 community events each year. It also has an employee volunteer program called Share the Care wherein employees are encouraged to participate in volunteer days at select organizations and/or volunteer with those organizations on their own. They are also able to make donations to those select nonprofits via automatic withdrawal from their paychecks.
Bellco's Charity of the Month program features 12 different charities each year that play a vital role in the communities served by Bellco. Members can donate directly from their online account or by stopping in at any one of Bellco’s 24 branches.
The bottom line is that in today’s environment with low unemployment and a tight labor market, anything a company or organization can do to stand out above its competition can make a difference. CSR programs, no matter how big or small they are, make our communities better places to live, work and play.