Sixty-five percent of recently surveyed Arizona consumers say they would spend more at a small business if it supported a positive cause. Expectations for social responsibility are evolving, and corporate philanthropy is becoming a crucial cornerstone in fostering a positive image within the community. National Philanthropy Day is November 15, and it’s the perfect opportunity to evaluate your current social responsibility initiatives or implement a philanthropy program of your own.
There are clear benefits associated with corporate monetary donations, foundation grants, product donations, employee volunteer time and other in-kind contributions. These benefits include positive employee morale and retention, customer satisfaction, marketing, networking, and positive brand awareness.
For many businesses, philanthropy is ingrained in the corporate culture and is an essential part of daily operations. At Cox Communications, we believe it’s important to give back to the communities in which our employees work and live.
In fact, our company’s philanthropic philosophy began with our founder, Governor James M. Cox, in the late 1800s, and is still embraced and supported by thousands of Arizona employees today. Cox Charities is a unique example of how to involve employees and community partners to positively impact the community and supplement the impact of corporate giving. Leveraging the passion and generosity of employees, vendors and community partners, Cox Charities allows our employees to decide which nonprofits in our communities should receive grants to support their organizations. Recently, we announced our 2017 grants to nearly 100 Arizona charities. In many cases, our employees present the donations personally to local organizations. This allows them to engage directly with these nonprofit organizations, and to see firsthand how our efforts are supporting the community’s needs.
By making a commitment to solving a specific community need, a business has the ability to make a meaningful contribution. While it is tempting to want to support everyone, from youth programs to animal shelters, setting a focus for your giving will add purpose and maximize giving potential.
Businesses can also increase employee morale and retention through hands on engagement in the program. Employees will feel a stronger connection to the community and corporate social responsibility efforts. At Cox, our employees have not only given their money through Cox Charities, but their time as well. Last year, Cox employees logged 34,000 hours of volunteer work in Arizona.
Volunteer opportunities help to increase employee satisfaction, which translates into productivity and satisfaction at the workplace. It also helps strengthen employee leadership skills, internal relationships and overall morale. Corporate-supported volunteer programs allow employees to highlight their abilities and learn valuable professional skills that will reflect in their work, creating a stronger, more engaged workforce.
In addition to improving employee satisfaction, employee volunteer programs boost a company’s image and external relations by positioning them as a leader in corporate philanthropy at the local and national levels. Ultimately, these programs allow businesses to reach more clients and increase sales.
A commitment to philanthropy and employee giving is good for your organization, your employees and the local nonprofit organizations in our community. The challenge is the right one, incorporating philanthropic initiatives into business is not only helping build a better tomorrow for our community, but it is also good business.
Susan Anable is the vice president of public affairs for Cox Communications Southwest region. To learn more about Cox’s philanthropy projects, visit CoxCharities.org.