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How to Tell Your Business’ Philanthropic Story and Why You Should

Volunteers at a food pantry

How to Tell Your Business’ Philanthropic Story and Why You Should

You know that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is important to your business, but did you know it's also integral to your marketing?

Since consumers are now more likely to select brands based on the company’s civic involvement, CSR has become an integral part of your overall branding strategy. Telling your philanthropic story can help engage potential customers and improve their perception about your organization, while extending loyalty over time.

Why Social Responsibility Matters to Business

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been evolving for decades but has taken on greater significance in recent years as consumers gravitate more frequently to organizations that act as good corporate citizens. 

A recent survey revealed that seventy-seven percent of consumer respondents are more willing to make purchases from companies that have a strong commitment toward addressing social, economic and environmental issues. In fact, 50 percent will research the organization to ensure that company values align with their own before doing business.

However, CSR affects more than customer acquisition. An organization’s approach to social responsibility also has a strong impact on customer retention. A survey conducted by Sprout Social revealed that 42 percent of respondents would shift their brand allegiance if a company failed to live up to its commitment on social issues. Even more compelling, 29 percent would actively boycott the company.

Given consumer attitudes like these, it has become vital for businesses to not only engage in philanthropic efforts, but to share their story. Here is how it’s done.

How to Define Your Philanthropic Story

When it comes to sharing your philanthropic story, a good place to start is by defining it with a purpose or vision statement.

A vision statement is meant to answer some important questions about your organization’s beliefs, how it looks at the world and why the company exists. For example, at FNBO, our vision is to “support successful communities in all the places we call home.” This vision statement embodies not only our view on how we fit into society but also aligns closely to the work we do as a bank.

Aligning your purpose with the main objectives of your company is called shared value philanthropy and it allows your company to see societal benefits in tandem with the potential for future impact on the bottom line. Here is a quick example.

Imagine that a health insurance company sees rising insurance claims across an increasingly unhealthy population. The result is a negative impact on both the community segment in question as well as the organization’s bottom line.

Efforts to rescue profits would therefore focus on preventing future claims through disease prevention and health education programs, targeting those most at risk for preventable diseases. This approach also improves the community by inspiring better health outcomes as it simultaneously promotes profitable business outcomes, an important consideration if an organization wants to continue to benefit the communities it serves.

How to Share Your Philanthropic Story

There are many reasons to tell your philanthropic story. For one thing, doing so improves customer relationships and makes it easier to gain new ones. However, making your corporate sustainability efforts known is also good for employee relationships.

For example, 40 percent of millennials have chosen a job based on the company’s sustainability efforts. Communicating a well-defined philanthropic story can help your organization attract and retain more highly skilled talent.

Sharing your story doesn’t have to be hard or take a complicated effort either. It does, however, need to be targeted to the right stakeholders and applied through appropriate channels.

For example, you can utilize emails and internal social media or web pages to reach employees. In a similar manner, you can engage with customers and communities by sharing announcements through social media, business blogs or websites, but also through press releases or advertisements.

One way FNBO regularly highlights the results of our philanthropic efforts is through an annual impact report. This document highlights the investments we have made in our communities over the year as well as the positive outcomes these efforts have netted.

Sharing our story has been particularly important as we launched Impact by FNBO, our renewed community and social responsibility strategy. True to our purpose, Impact by FNBO demonstrates how our business as a bank can positively impact communities at every level. Whether it’s by providing financial advice and guidance, giving loans, investing in community partners, supporting our employees and locally-owned companies, or by taking measures to improve the environment, sharing stories about these activities reinforces how import our work truly is, while encouraging others in our communities to get involved.

When all is said and done, the purpose of sharing your philanthropic story goes beyond business benefits. By highlighting your efforts, you are raising awareness around the activities you support, allowing more people to contribute and further your endeavors.

About the Author

Jamie Urban began her career at FNBO in 1999 where she worked as a teller for two years. Since then, she’s held various marketing communications roles supporting multiple customer and product segments including Retail, Credit Card, Wealth Management, Corporate Lending, and Community Development. This diverse work experience, combined with invaluable personal experience, paved the way for Jamie’s current role as a Content Creator on FNBO’s Social Media and Content Marketing team. In her role, Jamie helps guide individuals along their path to financial wellness by writing Cashology blog articles which provide financial tips related to budgeting, saving, managing credit and more. When she’s not busy writing, Jamie enjoys reading a good book, cooking a tasty meal and spending time with her husband and two children.

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