Corporate Success Can Be Found Through Community, Citizenship

By Pete Parker

Running a business during these economic times has been and will continue to be extremely challenging. Whether it’s managing a large corporation or small business, today’s business leaders must change as the overall business environment changes.  While there doesn’t appear to an ideal formula for success, corporations are beginning to take greater stock in their local communities.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is not a new term…although it’s beginning to generate greater traction. According to ecomii, “CSR is the concept that an organization has obligations not just to conduct its business and adhere to legal guidelines, but also to look out for the welfare of its employees, the community, and society at large.” Many businesses are making social responsibility a priority, not just to increase bottom lines, but because it’s the right thing to do.

According to a new report by the Conference Board, “a majority of the officials said their highest priority is to better align their company’s giving with its business needs.” Nearly half, for example, said they were placing more emphasis this year on tying giving to brand awareness and visibility.

Creating CSR strategies is becoming increasingly popular, but could also be costly for small businesses. Many, however, are creating corporate “citizenship” strategies, which focus on “creating higher standards of living and quality of life in the communities in which they operate, while still preserving profitability for stakeholders (” Businesses developing citizenship strategies have been focusing on corporate-to-community giving plans, predominantly centering on financial support and employee volunteerism. The Conference Board report also reflected on the importance of corporate volunteerism by revealing that nearly half of the companies plan to increase their efforts to get their empl0yees to volunteer.

As vital as they are to a corporation’s success, many businesses have yet to jump onto the citizenship bandwagon. Proof is found in the recently released 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Perception Study, which queried the general public during February 2010. Interesting stats were found, including “only 11% of people received communications about CSR from any company in the past year.” However, it was also shared that “70% of respondents voiced willingness to pay more for products from socially-responsible companies.” Bringing things closer to the corporate family, “34% of employees would take a pay cut to work for a socially-responsible firm.”

As the business environment continues to change, the requirement for staying & succeeding in business is also changing. As a result, corporations (small and large) are emphasizing the maintenance of strategic relationship with society and, particularly, their local communities.

Pete Parker is a consultant working with charitable organizations, as well as individual and corporate donors, to design and manage successful philanthropic strategies.

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