This article was written by Tahverlee, a Social Impact Entrepreneur and founder of Corporate Cause Agency.
It’s a proven fact that companies that give back to their communities see a healthy return on their investment. Often, senior leadership teams who focus on bottom-line growth, spend more time on their big vision strategies and invest significant time and resources into marketing and branding initiatives, but leave out a big piece of the puzzle: community partnerships.
A 2017 study by Cone Communications found that more than 60 percent of Americans hope businesses will drive social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation. Most consumers surveyed (87 percent) said they would purchase a product/service because a company supported an issue they care about. That means your members are waiting for you to show them how you are working to make a positive impact on the world. And by this, we mean, doing the work to create positive results – not just a heading on your website.
If you look at your budget and are focused on a donation category, shift your mindset to look at your overall goals and include community planning in the following areas:
Member retention budget
Although Community Giving is often a side initiative, it needs to be at the forefront of your Credit Union. Your values and the service you provide are unique when combined with the core of your business principles. Your bottom line is a direct reflection of the communities you serve. You want to know what challenges your members face outside of their banking needs and how you can help address those needs. Not only will this bring in new members as a result of your community efforts, but your current members will know how much you care about their overall well-being.
If you take a percentage of your marketing budget and direct it towards a community organization that matches your values, the organic growth will be measurable. The organization you invest in has other funders, constituents, directors, and volunteers, all who can become your champion through the support of a mutual cause. And of course, you need to share this message far and wide across all your social media and web presence. Content is king; we all know this. As we all struggle to find relevant content to post and engage with our audiences, this makes it easy to participate by sharing, cross-sharing, commenting on, the storytelling of impact, and this alone is 100% measurable.
Staffing and HR budget
If you want to attract top-notch talent, your company culture will play a significant role in a candidate’s assessment of your company. Employees want to join a team that cares about their community and causes more significant than the day-to-day. Filling their needs and joy-buckets will increase productivity and loyalty to your Credit Union. Evaluate your HR budget and how you are investing in attracting and maintaining top talent; does the impact you make on the community get a story-line in your job ads, interview processes, and employee reviews? Do you ask your employees what issues they face in their community? Do your employees know your values and see you living them daily? Do they feel proud of the work you do? These are all the right starting places and worth your HR budget dollars to develop further.
Leadership Development budget
Think more than just dollars and look at volunteering! Your stakeholder groups and teams have a wide variety of skills that can benefit non-profit organizations. Offer opportunities to mentor, volunteer, and contribute to causes aligned with your mission. Focus on your values (and theirs). Any time spent doing so will result in a greater reach to your target clients or consumers.
It can seem complicated to develop a Community Investment Strategy that has measurable results on your bottom line, but we promise you it is attainable. You are likely already doing a combination of the above, even if not in a structured way. The key is to go on the offensive and create a plan that you can deliver and measure, as opposed to just accepting the donation and volunteer opportunities that come your way.
Think outside of budget lines and build opportunities for your business to reach financial targets by developing new partnership opportunities in all aspects of planning. If you want to stand out from your competition and see the needle move in the direction of growth, now is the time to start developing cause-based partnerships.
About the author
Tahverlee is a Social Impact Entrepreneur and founder of Corporate Cause Agency, www.corporatecauseagency.com. On November 12that 10AM (MDT) join us for a free webinar where Tahverlee will go into greater detail on each of the areas and provide steps on how you can further develop your community investment strategy. RSVP to email@example.com attend the training.