Humanergy is a big supporter of the United Way’s annual campaign, which is now underway. We support it organizationally through funding a billboard encouraging people to give generously. We also encourage our staff to participate, and we have a track record of 100% participation. While our contributions are only a drop in a very large bucket, we are happy to demonstrate our strong commitment to making a difference in our community, as do many of our client partners. Why do organizations as a whole – and their employees individually – invest in their local area, or in some cases, the entire planet?
Corporate social responsibility can be good business. On a local and global level, our success is interconnected. Stable, enriching communities draw and retain quality workers. Poverty, lack of education and other social ills reduce the pool of paying customers that your company needs. We share one planet and one economy, so being exclusively self-focused isn’t a viable option anymore. There is no guarantee that being a virtuous organization will correlate with profits. If “doing the right thing” was the fast track to success, every company would have a vibrant social responsibility program. The benefit of promoting the greater good may not be tangible today, but will be tomorrow.
Giving back is the right thing to do. Do organizations have a responsibility to be good stewards of the planet’s resources, including its cities, neighborhoods and people? Does your organization’s good fortune come with an obligation to make a positive difference? Many organizations find that creating a service or product and producing profits aren’t sufficient. They recognize that the legacy of the organization can be more than shareholder value. Organizations today have an opportunity to be part of creating a better world in their own back yards and across the globe.
Billionaires and poor folks do it. While the uber-rich, like Bill Gates, gain great press by pledging to give away their money, it is also true that those with modest incomes give generously as well. In the United States, the two groups who give the largest percentage of income are the poor (earning under $20,000 per year) and the rich (incomes of $100,000 and up). Likewise, organizations both large and small can make a difference.
Time is money, too. One of the growing trends in corporate social responsibility is giving time rather than (or in addition to) money. Individuals are spending their weekends fixing up homes for low-income residents. Companies are encouraging their workers to take paid days off for volunteer efforts. While this does require an investment of resources, encouraging people to give time creates new opportunities for organizations to support communities and develop a team and service culture.
Times are tough and more than half of nonprofits have seen a decline in contributions. Meanwhile, the need has never been greater. So go ahead and give – not until it hurts. Give until it feels just right.
Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!
Here’s another perspective. It’s a blog post called “Companies aren’t charities.”