Corporate social responsibility has become more important than ever. Driven by the growing consumer demand for brands to give back, particularly amongst Millennials, it is rare to find a large company today without some type of giving program. But giving back on a corporate level offers a lot more than a good PR opportunity or increased sales.

Brand Building & Public Relations

All major philanthropic efforts are virtually guaranteed to provide media exposure. Whether it’s your company logo splashed across a non-profit campaign or media coverage of large donations, your brand will be in the news. You also have the opportunity to amplify the coverage by sharing news about your giving program across social media. All of this exposure helps build your reputation as a company with a commitment to give back.

This elevated public perception influences consumer sentiment, and ultimately purchase decision making. 66% of respondents in a 2015 global online survey by Nielsen said they would pay more for products and services from companies demonstrating a commitment to positive social and environmental impact. So when you’re considering a corporate social responsibility program, don’t think just about how much it will cost – think about how much profit it could help to provide in the future.

Employee Engagement & Positive Workplace Environment

There are a number of ways corporate philanthropy can create a better workplace for employees. The first is creating a positive work environment. Demonstrating that your company doesn’t exist solely to make money goes a long way to providing a positive workplace.

Employees may also feel more connected to the company and their colleagues, plus they are likely to feel more fulfilled knowing that their work is contributing to the betterment of their community or the wider world.

Corporate social responsibility programs can also help employees develop new skills and learn to work together, often with people within the organization that they may not otherwise get the chance to work with.

Employees that work for a company with a culture of giving back are also more likely to be more engaged with their work, which is a huge bonus for. High employee engagement results in increased productivity as well as higher retention rates. Plus, a great corporate culture helps attract better talent.

While the benefits for companies are big, the impact for non-profits is even bigger. Corporate matching gift programs for example can exponentially increase fundraising levels for charities, and ongoing partnerships can provide fiscal security for charity programs.

The bottom line is if your company is not involved in some form of philanthropy, you’re behind the curve.  The good news is getting started is easy. You don’t have to build a huge program out of the gate. Start small with a financial donation or a company fundraiser. Allow employees to volunteer for a day during work hours or undertake pro bono work.

Whether you’re building out a full corporate social responsibility program or just planning a few charitable activities during the year, it also pays to involve your employees in the planning process, taking into account their thoughts on where and how they would like to contribute.