Good business in today’s increasingly interconnected world is much more than just business; it’s also about being socially responsible, especially in communities in which companies conduct business. Attending a local volunteer day may not be on the top of your priority list, but encouraging volunteerism among employees can help to strengthen company morale and broaden horizons. Networking with new contacts and spreading company awareness also enhances reputation building.
Whether signing up for team-based walks and races or hosting an item donation drive, carving out a few days for community engagement does not need to be a labor-intensive process. Some companies have implemented internal service award programs, and others have donated time and/or funds to philanthropic efforts. Here are examples from three companies that you can use when considering your own corporate social responsibility program.
1. Xerox’s Community Involvement Program: Employees participate in community-focused causes; totaling approximately 500,000 involved employees since 1974. According to the Xerox Foundation, in 2013, it invested more than $1.3 million in the Community Involvement Program, “enabling 13,000 Xerox people to participate in 800 projects.” This company-wide commitment improves both employee relations and community relations, as employees gain the satisfaction of knowing their company is committed to causes they care about.
2. Life is good, Inc. launched its #GROWtheGood tour across the country, volunteering and donating in communities and making improvements at a local level. Through the tour, the company is distributing over $1 million to children in need. They market through community outreach and philanthropic activities such as funding a local event and providing free gifts.
3. TripAdvisor’s lunch swap-out program exists so that the company provides lunch three days a week and employees can donate their lunch money for the day to food charity efforts. This practice is in place along with community service hours spent at local schools, building their own grant foundation that matches any gifts given to the places in which employees volunteer. The grant foundation receives 2 percent of TripAdvisor profits and is an ongoing program to support employee community volunteering.
Getting started on implementing community relations efforts can be daunting. Sometimes it can require a company-wide attitude and culture shift, or refining practices and employee expectations. If you’re still not sure where to start or need some direction, find a reputable public relations firm that specializes in community relations to get you on the right track.