Who Benefits More?

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Who benefits more from a well thought out, well-executed (much hyped?) community investment program? The company, charities/different organizations or the employees from which the investment originates?

The 2004 Cone Corporate Citizenship Report discusses how some companies have recognized the positive impact of supporting social issues and the additional benefits of aggressively communicating these efforts to as many people as possible. The report describes how more and more folks south of the border want businesses to discuss what they do in the community, however few actually do it (well) for fear of being seen as too self-congratulatory.

Boastful or not, “an overwhelming majority of Americans (86%) want companies to talk about their efforts, yet only 4 in 10 are actually doing it well.” Some of those companies are engaged in voodoo marketing efforts, an opinion expressed in yesterday’s NYTimes by Ron Jarvis, Home Depot senior vice-president.

Despite their desire to know, employees of a particular business stand to benefit just as much (maybe more) than consumers from a well-publicized community investment campaign. The difference between posting something internally and boasting about community investment in a public space is tremendous – primarily because it demonstrates that a company stands behind a particular (employee driven) initiative and that they’re willing to stand up and shout about it.

Some may ask, “how do we know that our corporate contribution is making a difference in the lives of people?” My response – perhaps it’s just a case of asking all those involved.

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