Companies are taking corporate social responsibility more seriously than ever. According to The Guardian, more than 5,000 corporations release their environmental, social and corporate governance performance on an annual basis. And, nowadays, it's not hard to find an initiative designed to attract socially minded companies.
The Guardian explained that today's trends in social responsibility are a proactive response to harmful stories about various companies' wrong-doings. Rather than waiting to do damage control regarding negative press, companies began demonstrating the good they do on a regular basis by engaging in social and environmental causes.
However, many businesses have come to recognize that being socially responsible does more good for the company than proactive reputation management. Here are four ways getting involved in a good cause can benefit your business:
1. Appeal to your customers
Customers generally seek out companies that are making the world a better place in some way or another. And the companies that are doing good may be enjoying higher customer loyalty.
According to a study by Cone Communications, more than 90 percent of millennial shoppers would switch brands if one is associated with a cause. Additionally, 82 percent said they're likely to tell their peers about a good cause their favorite brands take part in.
2. Create a strong company culture
Being a part of a cause is a great way for co-workers to build bonds. Entrepreneur pointed out that giving back to the community is often a good way to increase morale among employees.
"When your employees love what they're doing, they do a better job," Erin Giles, business philanthropy consultant in South Carolina, explained to Entrepreneur.
A community involvement study from Boston College's Center for Corporate Citizenship focused on companies that measure both volunteer participation and employee engagement. The study found that companies that scored high in one category usually did well in the other, too. In fact, around 90 percent of companies that participated in the study found a correlation between the two.
3. Mutual support
Customers love to show support for their favorite brands. When they feel personally connected to a company, they're more likely to support them in good times as well as tough times. Duct Tape Marketing pointed out that businesses that have built a bond with their communities have felt the love when things took a turn for the worse.
For example, consider this small business based in London. The Big Green Bookstore opened in 2008 through the dedication of two book-lovers who knew the neighborhood needed a literary shop, co-owner Simon Key wrote in The Guardian. It built a loyal customer base through many community-based events. When a thief took 600 pounds ($773.28) from a favorite London bookstore, its clients quickly came to the shop's rescue. Within a day, dedicated patrons of The Big Green Bookstore has raised 2,400 pounds ($3,093.12) to replace the stolen funds.
4. Promote business values
There are millions of causes a company can get involved in. While any one of them will likely have multiple positive outcomes for a business, there are advantages to strategically choosing your cause. Companies can seek out ways to give back that also promotes their company's values, Duct Tape Marketing pointed out. For example, a grocery store might support local food pantries or raise money to bring nutritious ingredients to food deserts. Or, an athletic apparel store might sponsor a community walk or run event for a special cause. By calling attention to causes that are closely tied to your own business model, you're not only doing good for others - you're benefiting your own marketing efforts as well.