Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept that can take many forms depending on the company and industry; it is predicated on the belief that philanthropy is necessary for the good of society. A conscious impact may be social or environmental but should strive to make a positive difference. Corporate entrepreneur Jeff Yapp has given back to his community throughout his 30-year career and takes the time to outline why CEOs should be actively involved in philanthropic initiatives.
The Evolution of the Corporate Philanthropy to Corporate Social Responsibility
The meaning of philanthropy has evolved over time, and it now focuses on improving one’s ‘quality of life’ through active social participation. Most often seen as a significant financial contribution, philanthropy can also encompass time and resources. In fact, many organizations are beginning to realize that they have the opportunity to engage with consumers and employees in a way that extends past a monetary transaction. Corporate social responsibility or (CSR) has the potential to improve company morale, retain talent, and create further opportunities for change.
One such company known for its keen sense of corporate social responsibility through sustainability and community welfare is Starbucks. Through this initiative, Starbucks has reached 99 percent ethically sourced coffee, pioneered green building throughout its stores, contributed millions of hours of community service, and created a ground-breaking college program for its partners/employees.
In order for companies to engage in philanthropic activities, they first need to be responsible for themselves and their shareholders. Companies that often adopt CSR programs have grown their businesses to a point where they can give back; therefore, CSR is primarily a strategy of large corporations—such as Starbucks. As Jeff Yapp mentions, it can also be hugely beneficial to the company. According to a 2016 study, 83% of millennials said they would have more loyalty to a company that helped them contribute to social and environmental issues. Similarly, recent reports demonstrate the millennials represent $2.25 trillion in spending power, so corporate social responsibility should be at an all time high.
A movement that started in this spirit of philanthropy is ‘Giving Tuesday’. During the Holiday season, when rampant consumerism is at its highest, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for companies to consider those less fortunate. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is on December 3rd, 2019 this year. Giving Tuesday was started in 2012 and was initiated as a hub for communities to donate to charities in their area; they take part by giving gifts, making donations, or volunteering their time to assist with a charity’s needs.
The Benefits of Giving Back to Your Community
Support Your Local Community by Utilizing Available Resources
In addition to the public support for philanthropic giving, giving back is an investment in your community. Giving to charities can help save and change lives for the less fortunate, raising people’s quality of life. A company’s business decisions should align with an ongoing effort to help make a positive difference. Jeff Yapp claims that organizations that actively engage with their community acknowledge an abundance of resources and use them to cultivate change. Similarly, he states that companies should focus primarily on areas in which they excel. Employees are often more motivated to give back to a cause where they have a deep-seated interest.
Improve Employee Morale and Advocate for Positive Change
Another insight is that corporate giving can improve employee morale. Employees are more likely to feel a connection and appreciation for their company because of the act of giving back. It also allows CEO’s to set an example as leaders in their business and field. When they make a commitment to donate their money or time to a charity, they set an example for others to follow suit. Partaking in philanthropic initiatives, is a proactive means to generate continued support and influence employee participation.
Gain Further Talent and Create Opportunities
Making the effort to participate in philanthropic endeavors is likely to attract fresh talent. Recent studies suggest that conscious millennials are continuously seeking opportunities that align with their social values. These individuals have the potential to further an organizations philanthropic initiatives by offering a fresh perspective. Ultimately, corporate social responsibility matters not only to customers, but potential hires as well.
Build Professional Connections and Establish a Following
Philanthropy is also a way to create a multitude of professional connections and enhance your personal network. Establishing relationships with various companies is also a means to spread awareness and increase your following. Awareness leads to the possibility of a partnerships which promotes new opportunities.
Looking Ahead – Consider Your Approach
At a time when the gap between the upper and lower class is growing, corporate giving and philanthropy has never been more important. A successful plan of action requires extensive planning and a thoughtful strategy. Jeff Yapp encourages organizations to utilize their available resources to help make a difference.
One of the ways he is contributing is through the implementation of an academic scholarship. Jeff Yapp started the Jeff Yapp scholarship to help students throughout North America access higher education and find their passions. He believes that formal education is a valuable asset and is an essential component to personal and professional development. Jeff claims that turning your charitable endeavors into a business model is an effective way to drive talent, help out your local community, and change lives for the better.
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