As part of corporate social responsibility activities addressing the social impact of business on the community, business and not for profit organisations may enter into community business partnerships. There are many benefits to both the company and the not for profit organisation of taking part in the joint venture.
Employee Volunteering Programs Can Improve Staff Morale
Companies that provide an opportunity for their employees to give back to the community by way of employee volunteering programs also gain an opportunity for their staff to undertake skills development training. Deloitte’s Volunteer IMPACT Survey found that over ¾ of not for profit organisations believed that corporate volunteers would bring value to their organisations however under ½ of the not for profit organisations surveyed currently had corporate volunteers working with them.
According to the not for profit portal, Our Community, “more than 90% of employees prefer to work for a company with an employee volunteering project” and such a project is particularly relevant to Gen Y Employees (Deloitte’s Volunteer Impact Survey).
Companies with employee volunteering programs also report less sick days than companies without the programs. Tuffrey’s Good Companies Better Employees study found that implementation of an employee volunteering program raised staff satisfaction levels by 5%.
Other benefits gained by companies with employee volunteering programs include potential for obtaining a reputation as a “good employer,” which may increase the numbers of applicants for openings, an improvement in the skills of community members which may lead to an increased pool of talent for future hires and increased media coverage.
Improved Community Knowledge Provides Opportunities for New Product Development
By partnering with an organisation that is providing grass roots community development projects, a company can increase its social standing and knowledge of the community. The increased knowledge can lead to an improved ability to develop products and services to meet community needs.
Creating products and services that meet community needs has been implemented by Orange France Telecom through formation of stakeholder groups to understand the requirements of Orange’s disabled customer and through provision of low cost services in remote areas. There is also potential for improvement of brand recognition within the community and an increase in sales of goods and services to the community.
Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility
By putting together an effective community business partnership, the business may obtain an improved or increased competitive advantage in the marketplace. Ethical consumerism sentiments are rising with consumer boycotts estimated to have totaled over £2.3 billion (Co-operative Bank). Over 90% of consumers have a preference for purchasing goods or services supplied by companies that the consumer sees as being ethical (KPMG “Ethical Business and Sustainable Communities” Report). A business’ performance in corporate social responsibility measures is one way that a consumer may judge the ethics of the business and whether a purchase should be made from that business.
Business Leadership and Brand Recognition
A business with a strong partnership with a community based not for profit organisation may also find that it improves its leadership position both within the community and industry in which it operates.
Community business partnership also provide an opportunity for the business to be included in the not for profit organisation’s media and other awareness activities thus bringing an increased exposure level of the business to the community and in some cases to areas of the community the business may never have reached in the past.
Businesses, not for profit organisations and the community benefit from community business partnerships. For business, the investment in an employee volunteering program or community business partnership can result in increased staff motivation and morale, improved community knowledge which may lead to an improvement in the products and services designed for the community, potential for increased brand recognition and the possibility that the business may become recognised as a leader in its field or community.