Philanthropy and Business - The New Corporate Citizenship

Some of the buzzwords in business these days are "corporate philanthropy" and "corporate citizenship." Corporate philanthropy is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes and industries. On the one hand, investors see opportunities in investing in a socially responsible venture. On the other hand, corporate philanthropy is important in retaining talent and resources. Most importantly, according to customer demographics, people are more likely to trust brands that are involved in a social cause.

So, as an entrepreneur, only chalking out business plans and doing mainstream work is not enough anymore. You must take the lead in corporate philanthropy.

Understanding Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy refers to the social, environmental, economic, and legal responsibilities of a company towards society. The goal of business philanthropy is to improve people's lives by raising their standard of living and quality of life while remaining profitable for the stakeholders. Most philanthropic companies show their commitment to ethical behaviour while ensuring that their shareholders remain satisfied. It creates more business loyalty and credibility.

A survey conducted by Salesforce in 2020 shows that 60% of respondents find an employer trustworthy if they contribute to society and champion social causes, both locally and globally. Therefore, becoming a corporate philanthropist should be your goal. 

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How Companies Can Benefit from Corporate Philanthropy

Are you wondering how philanthropy helps a company? The general idea is that philanthropy can prove beneficial for only the people or the community at the receiving end. However, companies can benefit immensely too when they choose corporate philanthropy.

  • Corporate philanthropy has been shown to be effective in increasing employee engagement and productivity. Allowing the employees to choose a charity, engaging them in crowdfunding, letting them take initiative, and finally, offering paid volunteering can encourage employees to get more engaged. 
  • It will increase brand awareness and the reputation of the company. During the COVID situation and later on, at the time of protesting against racial violence, many companies got involved with these causes, which led to a better reputation and trustworthiness among customers, employees, and the community at large. 
  • In today’s world, when an employee joins a company, they not only check the company website but also the reviews and social media platforms. It has been a proven fact that the companies that do philanthropy actually attract a lot of fresh talent. It boosts a positive work environment for the employees.
  • There are several studies in the market showing that customers engage more with socially responsible brands. Almost 90% of customers will choose a cause-driven brand to engage with.
  • Entrepreneurial philanthropy actually comes with tax benefits. Charitable activities come with tax benefits. Though saving money should not be the only motivator, in this case, it is surely not to be ignored. 

The Difference Between CSR and Corporate Philanthropy

There is a fine line between corporate social responsibility and corporate philanthropy. But they are not synonymous. While corporate philanthropy is getting involved with some social cause for community benefit, corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is directly related to business structure and how a company functions. 

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the definition of CSR is, "the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, as well as of the local community and society at large." So, you have a chance to basically go beyond just donations in terms of your philanthropic activities. I am grateful that I got a chance to do that with my association with Heartfulness. With this global community of meditators and Daaji’s guidance, I can help people today to offer them calm and peace while they struggle with the demands of modern life. Also, becoming a part of Heartfulness Education Trust and Forest by Heartfulness Initiatives was a good decision for me as I could give back to the future generator as well as our environment which is needed now more than ever.

Types of Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy can be of several types and when you are choosing one, you need to consider how it can benefit you. 

  • Matching gifts are a common form of corporate philanthropy. The companies pay the matching amount to the employees who donate to a selected charity. 
  • The volunteer grant programme is another popular type of corporate philanthropy where companies donate money to a charity that is equivalent to the value of the volunteer hours of their employees.
  • Employees' grant stipend is very straightforward: a company gives the employee a grant that is equivalent to the money that they donate to their chosen charity.
  • Companies can offer community grants to charitable organizations to support their nonprofit missions. This is another straightforward example of a philanthropic business model.
  • Volunteer support initiatives let companies partner with nonprofit organizations to provide services as a charity, which only companies with philanthropic programmes can provide. 

Business philanthropy is a great practice for any corporate house and can benefit a company in manifold ways. And giving back to the community is also noble. So, choose to give back to society and establish yourself as a credible name to everyone. Find your callings just like how I did with Heartfulness and help people make their lives better. Think of giving not as charity but as your duty as a human being so that you can leave this world a better place for future generations.