More and more, businesses are donating a portion of their profits to help non-profits tackle local and worldwide social issues. This growing trend has numerous names: conscious capitalism, cause marketing, corporate philanthropy, social good movement, or cause-minded capitalism. Call it what you will, the model is simple: sell an amazing product or service and donate a portion of the sale to support a cause your customers care about. It’s great for local communities and it’s good for business, too.
Corporate philanthropy is good for the community
In Colorado Springs, several national and local businesses have adopted this model to help our homeless neighbors and the less fortunate in our community.
Jersey Mike’s, a national sub-sandwich chain, devotes the entire month of March to give back to social causes in every community their stores are in. On March 29th, their annual Day of Giving, more than 1,200 restaurants donated 100 percent of their sales (not just profits) to nearly 150 different local charities across the country. This March, they donated $6 million nationally and the stores in Colorado Springs donated $21,250 to Springs Rescue Mission.
Another national chain making a big difference in Colorado Springs is Dutch Bros. Coffee. Several times a year, these small, drive-through coffee shops generate a ton a buzz by rallying behind a person or cause in need of some local love and support. On Valentine’s Day (also known as Dutch Luv Day by coffee connoisseurs), they donate $1 for every drink sold to help local food organizations.
Take Mountain Equipment Recyclers (MER), for example. Outdoor aficionados donate their used gear to MER and 50 percent of the sale is given to charity. Since 2016, their small store off Tejon has donated over $6,000 to Springs Rescue Mission through the sale of donated items. In terms of what that accomplishes at the Mission, they’ve donated 3,000 meals, 1,200 nights of shelter, or fresh starts for three men recovering from addiction. And keep in mind, MER also donates to 13 other charities that make a local impact.
Another way companies are giving back is by using their influence and visibility throughout the community to encourage their employees and customers to rally behind local causes.
Ent Credit Union, for example, empowers their employees and members to support community causes and non-profit organizations through event sponsorships, drives, and volunteerism. Their members and employees have donated nearly $100,000 towards Springs Rescue Mission’s campus expansion to help provide more shelter and services for homeless people in Colorado Springs. And like MER, this is only one of the many community spotlight fundraisers they’ve organized throughout the year.
Corporate philanthropy is good for business
More and more businesses are reaping the benefits of giving a portion of their profits back to the community. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it truly is better to give than to receive, especially as a local business.
Here are some reasons why:
1. Corporate philanthropy attracts top talent
A poll conducted by Fortune determined that, “Nearly two-thirds of people between the ages of 18 and 34 were…more likely to want to work for a company that gave to charity than one that did not.”
Another study found that, “64 percent of Millennials won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility values.”
Say what you want about the work-ethic of Millennials, but one thing is for sure: They want their work to make a positive impact in the world.
As Boomers start to retire and Gen-Xers move up the corporate ranks, Millennials are starting to take the reigns as the innovators and game-changers in the business world. And they’re flocking to companies that give back because that’s where they can make the greatest impact and feel the most influential.
2. Corporate philanthropy boosts brand image and customer loyalty
Brian Hughes from Huffington Post explains that, “Corporate social responsibility goes hand-in-hand with a smart brand strategy.”
If businesses want to stand out from their competition, a great way to do so is by partnering with a local cause or charity.
Take Newman’s Own, for instance. It’s just salad dressing, right?
It’s a donation towards a worthwhile cause and great salad dressing. It stands out from the other brands on the shelf because they give 100 percent of their profits to charity.
As long as a business is intentionally and consistently invested in a charity and the charity’s mission, customers who want their purchase to make a difference will remain extremely loyal.
3. Corporate philanthropy increases sales and exposure
One study found that, “91 percent of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.” And consumers are using their wallets to show companies how important this is. They found that 87 percent of Americans will purchase a product because the company advocates for a cause they care about.
Product quality is important, but the company’s quality and values are just as important (if not more important).
Consumers are getting picky about where they spend their money, and if businesses want an advantage over their competition, they’ll have to find a cause worth getting behind.
It’s also a great way to increase exposure.
Consumers love to share stories about the products and services they purchase that help others. 80 percent of consumers will tell their family and friends about a company they like because it supports a cause they care about.
And don’t forget about the many opportunities for media exposure when news stations and publications cover a story about a drive or fundraiser to benefit a local charity.
The New Bottom Line
The way businesses measure success is changing. The bottom line isn’t profitability, anymore—it’s social impact. It’s less about how much money a business makes and more about how much money a business invests back into the community that made it a success.
As philanthropist Dale Partridge put it, “Building an openhanded rather than closefisted company turns out to be a great business strategy.”
Since 2016, over 570 businesses have given back to the community of Colorado Springs by supporting Springs Rescue Mission. We hope more companies will follow their lead and consider partnering with us on a regular basis to help reduce poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and addiction in our community.
We also hope everyone in Colorado Springs shows these philanthropic businesses some local love by visiting and shopping with them.
If you’re interested in partnering with Springs Rescue Mission, call us at (719) 632-1822 or email us at info@SpringsRescueMission.org today. We’d love to work with you to raise awareness about homelessness and chat about how your business can spearhead a movement to help homeless men and women restore their lives.
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