Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Attractor Factor in Business Giving

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has written a piece How Giving Has Helped One Business Grow about Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes and his opening presentation at the annual meeting of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. While the story of the beginnings of his inspiration is moving, he also added three key points about why embedding philanthropy into the fabric of a business can help it grow with the attraction of these three essential elements.

We have written lots about why giving is strategic and advantageous for business growth, but here is a different way of thinking about it. 

1. Attracting Loyal Customers
Blake cited a story about a woman he spoke to in an airport who, without knowing who he was, told him that it was the philanthropic aspects of the company that appealed to her. We also know with current research by from Edelman's Good Purpose Study 2010 , that indeed customers not only are enthusiastically supporting  businesses with a social purpose but are increasingly expecting it.
2.Attracting Quality Employees
TOMS shoes was able to lure employees from other well known shoe manufacturers because of the attraction of being part of a cause and having more meaning in their work. Studies have shown that even volunteering can contribute to an increase in employee satisfaction and retention rates.

3.Attracting Participating Partners 
Companies like Ralph Lauren and ATT have joined with TOMS shoes to support their cause. Paul Newman set a trend in this area with Newman's Own, by enlisting other companies to help support his Hole In the Wall Camp for children with life threatening illnesses. CECP which he founded, is based on the principle of businesses helping to support, inspire and partner with each other in their philanthropic efforts.

See related stories about other companies where giving has helped them grow.
Give Something Back which we wrote about last year was recently profiled in the SF Chronicle.

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