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19 Compelling Business Reasons for Corporate Community Involvement

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Corporate Community Involvement (CCI), or company efforts to support societal causes, is on the rise. A CR Magazine and NYSE-Euronext survey of over 300 companies, for example, found that 72 percent of respondents have CCI or other corporate responsibility programs and that 77 percent say these programs will expand over the next three years.  One reason for the popularity of CCI is that its business value is becoming increasingly evident.

Even noted Harvard Business School business strategist Michael Porter considers CCI an effective way to increase a company’s competitive advantage. Similarly, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship collaborated with McKinsey & Company on research that lays out the paths by which CCI adds value to business. More specifically, there is evidence that CCI makes a measurable difference on both internal and external business functions, as follows:

External stakeholder attitudes and behaviors: reputation, sales, investor actions and other external stakeholder reactions

1. Harvard Business School research found that companies with more corporate social responsibility practices significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance.

2. A study that investigated the market reaction to corporate press releases announcing donations to the relief effort following the December, 2004, tsunami in Southeast Asia indicated a statistically significant positive 5-day cumulative above-normal return in companies that donated. The larger the donations, the greater the increase in return.

3. Research has uncovered evidence that, for firms in industries that are highly sensitive to consumer perception, corporate giving is associated with subsequent sales growth.

4. 59% of Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a corporate-nonprofit partnership, a study found.

5. 56% of Americans will travel an extra 10 minutes out of their way to purchase a product that supports a cause they care about and that 71% are willing to pay at least $2.28 more for such a $10 product, according to research.

Employee attitudes and behaviors: recruitment, teamwork, morale, engagement, retention, skills and performance

6. Employees of companies with CCI initiatives are more proud of and committed to their employers according to a University of Bath study.

7. Research finds that the higher an employee rates their organization’s corporate citizenship, the more committed they are to the organization.

8. Employees’ view of a company’s corporate citizenship affects team member morale, spirit, and pride; trust in their employer; and willingness to recommend their employer as a good place to work, according to a Golin Harris study.

9. Several companies have found statistically significant correlations between employee community engagement participation/awareness and morale including Aetna, Bank of America, HP and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

10. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) found that participation in signature volunteering generated a 56% business Return on Investment (ROI).

11. Several companies have found statistically significant correlations between employee community engagement participation and employee retention, including Manulife Financial and KPMG.

12. Barclays found a correlation between employee participation in CCI and job performance.

13. In a survey conducted in the United Kingdom, the majority of respondents reported that CCI developed their skills and competencies across a broad range of business relevant areas, including communications and teamwork. Their line managers corroborated these findings.

14. A Deloitte and Points of Light Institute national study of white collar workers found that 74% of volunteers reported that volunteering had a positive effect on their careers.

15. In a survey of professional women, 83% reported that volunteering developed leadership skills, 78% reported that it developed communication skills, and more than half reported development in other workplace skills.

16. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz credited CCI with the successful improvement of the company’s performance over a two-year period.

17. A Net Impact and Rutgers University survey found that respondents who are able to make a social or environmental impact while on the job are more satisfied with their jobs by a 2:1 ratio.

18. It also found that 45% of employees who have volunteered with their company or co-workers report that they are very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 30% who haven’t.

19. The same survey revealed that that 65% of student respondents entering the job market today expect to make a social and environmental impact through their work and 44% indicated they would be willing to take a pay cut to do so.

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