One of the hottest topics in the business world these days is focusing on purpose as a key business driver. Purpose allows an organization to make company values public and to differentiate itself to both customers and employees. It’s an increasingly important part of the Employer Brand as more and more workers seek employment that is meaningful to them and in line with their own values. This is incredibly important to Millennials, in particular, who have been known to take pay cuts in order to work for a company that is aligned with their own values and purpose.
When exploring company purpose, the benefits of corporate charity partnerships cannot be understated. Not only do these partnerships provide companies with a chance to make a difference for a cause that resonates so meaningfully with their brand and employees, but they also receive side benefits: team building, authentic storytelling opportunities by their employees, and differentiation that strengthens their employer brand.
In fact, when companies support social or environmental issues, consumer affinity increases! In a time where organizational trust is low and loyalty is more difficult than ever to develop, connecting on a more emotional level sets you apart. These three powerful stats from industry research tell a compelling story:
96% of global citizens have a more positive image of the company
94% are more likely to trust the company
93% are more loyal to the company (e.g., continue buying products or services)
There is another benefit as well: Employees are the greatest, most trusted influencers in the market and companies can help activate them as company brand ambassadors through cause partnerships. Not only does a company gain benefits such as giving back and the beneficial PR associated with that, reach is further maximized by employees themselves, who are often eager to share their charity experiences socially.
Don’t get us wrong – partnering with a charity should not be based solely on what it can do for you — there needs to be meaning behind it or it won’t feel authentic and employees will feel it.
“If you choose a partner that feels right your employees and leaders will speak passionately about it and through that partnership more people will see another side of your organization — a side that is emotionally compelling and real.”
– Leandra Harris
With a thoughtful approach, there is no question that your company can make an impact on a cause that is aligned to your purpose and that will make your employees feel proud.
Getting Started With Cause Partnerships
The best way to get started exploring the benefits of corporate charity partnerships is to take a deep look at your organizational purpose, goals, and values as well as the values and causes that resonate with your employees and with your key demographics.
When considering a charity partnership try to align it as much as you can to your organization’s purpose, vision, products or services to increase employee connection, engagement and overall authenticity. Reach out to a cause you believe in and explore how you can do this. A good example of a winning partnership is between the SickKids Foundation and Kraft Peanut Butter who have partnered to help support the fight against food allergies. Nice job Kraft : )
The more involved you are and the more varied that involvement, the more authentic the partnership will be and that will show. Involvement starts at the top. Company leaders must be invested in the cause and lead the conversation. Make sure employees know the whole story. Start by helping them to understand corporate philanthropy and how it drives the business – from recruitment through the business cycle. Then discuss how the chosen charity aligns with the company values. Share stories from the charity; have your charitable partner talk about the impact of dollars or time or services on their mission.
A Partnership with a charity is a way for organizations to put their values into action. Choose to work with charities that can authentically build your brand story and create a true impact on society.
Blu Ivy Group values the partnership with SickKids Foundation and has been supporting children’s health. In addition to individual monetary donations to SickKids, Blu Ivy Group also donates time as a team, and one of our favourite activities was spending a day at the Ronald McDonald House making lunches. This charity means a lot to us as we all have children that have spent a night or more at SickKids so we are grateful and want to give back.
The SickKids Experience
Partnerships with brands have absolutely been a win-win-win for SickKids Foundation. The hospital is a global leader in the field of paediatrics and a beacon of hope for families facing complex medical issues, but the facilities built a generation ago won`t keep up with their needs in the future. The SickKids Foundation team have launched the incredible VS brand platform jolting the community to join them in building a new SickKids.
The VS platform has enabled SickKids Foundation to help corporate partners tell their employer brand story. From huge companies like Telus or the big five banks to smaller organizations with less than 50 employees, SickKids Foundation’s corporate partners are engaging their diverse workforce in the cause – and it is resonating. These incredible employees host fundraisers, participate and volunteer at events, and individually donate to the cause; often the corporate partner is matching these hours of support and giving. Importantly for both SickKids and the corporate partner, these employees are so proud of their affiliation with the cause and share via social.
“We are honoured that employee groups become SickKids champions through our corporate partnerships. They come together and help us spread awareness of our cause, often wearing their corporate branded shirts, share inspiring stories and donate to our mission. For the Corporate Partners themselves, we helping to facilitate a fantastic employer brand experience, bringing the company purpose to life.”
– Stefanie McPherson. Director, Corporate Partnerships & Activation
With a thoughtful approach, there is no question that your company can do the same. Reach out to Blu Ivy to find out how you can integrate a corporate charity partnership into your employer brand story and launch programs to increase employee engagement.