Starting with Milton Friedman in the 1970’s, there was a two decade stretch when economists, business owners and even the public expected nothing more from companies than maximum profits. It might be unfair to call it an era of corporate greed, but certainly the focus on helping the local community was more muted than it is today.
A recent Denver Post article outlines how that has changed and why community involvement has become such a big part of what many companies do on a daily basis. As the Post notes, the attitude toward giving has changed immensely, with a large majority of CEOs calling environmental and community-friendly work key to their business models:
Another recent survey by Do Well Do Good found that 88 percent of consumers think companies should work to accomplish their business goals while trying to improve society and the environment, while 83 percent think businesses should support charities and nonprofits with financial donations. It also found that 83 percent of employees would seriously consider leaving their jobs if their company employed child labor, 65 percent would leave if their company harmed the environment, and 32 percent would work elsewhere if their employer gave little or no money to charity.
It’s an intelligent way to think. If you’re a small business serving a handful of towns, you are by nature heavily reliant on them. Work hard to align with their values and extend a helping hand to cleanup efforts at a polluted local brook or send employees to volunteer at a homeless shelter and those who live and work there will take notice. It never, ever hurts to engender good will among your potential customers.
Does your company participate in community philanthropy? Tell us about it.
Photo credit to orwardcom at http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=911459