Part of creating a VITAL accounting firm is making an impact. And with charity work, your impact can spread far beyond what you offer to clients.
We know what’s probably going through your mind right now…
You’ve read the title and you’re likely thinking, “Is this really relevant? What does charity work have to do with running an accounting firm?”
Sure, you want to do charity work. But you want to do it in order to make an impact and help people, not for positive PR.
Should charity work really be a marketing/PR tool?
We’re not saying that you should do charity work solely for PR purposes. In fact, good PR is just a by-product of doing charitable work that matters. This means you can support a cause that you care about, thus making a positive impact. And at the same time, the work you’re doing will create a positive buzz for your firm.
It’s a win-win situation, from both the marketing and social impact perspectives.
This is something that major brands know very well. We’re talking about major companies like Coca-Cola, Disney, and more. They get to spread a little more happiness and light in the world – and buff up their public image in the process.
In this article, we explore some of the most impressive corporate charity campaigns around. And we look at why they’re so important.
Coca-Cola – The Coca-Cola Foundation
Since 1984, Coca-Cola has donated over $820 million to a host of amazing causes through the Coca-Cola Foundation. This includes donating $117 million in 2015 alone.
The foundation has also been active during the pandemic. It partnered with the United Nations to support a development program for Armenia. Plus, it donated $250,000 to the Australian Red Cross at the height of the crisis in that country.
Simply put, the Coca-Cola Foundation does amazing work.
All told, the foundation supports over 300 causes around the world. Each year, Coca-Cola dedicates 1% of its operating income to the foundation. Supported initiatives focus on issues such as:
- Clean water for struggling communities
- Female empowerment
- Civic programs
- Youth development
And, of course, all this amazing work reflects well on the Coca-Cola brand. The foundation shows how much they care about helping communities develop. Anybody who hears of the foundation’s great work will instantly link it to the brand.
This encourages consumers who have a social conscience to check out Coca-Cola. After all, the company uses its operating income to support its foundation. For instance, let’s say the foundation supports a cause that the consumer is passionate about. They can then contribute directly by buying a Coca-Cola product.
Apple – Employee Donation Matching
One of the great things about Apple is how recognises that its people are individuals. Each one has their own desires in their professional life. And each has causes that they support in their personal life.
Apple wants to help its people do more for the causes that they support. That’s why it maintains its employee donation-matching initiative.
Tim Cook created the program almost as soon as he took over the role of CEO, back in 2011. And it’s a simple idea. For every dollar that an Apple employee donates, the company donates a dollar to the same cause.
Dubbed Apple Giving, the program raised $365 million between 2011 and 2019. That means Apple matched over $180 million worth of donations during that period.
And that’s not all.
Apple also sponsors a special program for employees who wish to donate their time to great causes. The company gives $25 per hour to the employee’s chosen charity for every hour of volunteer work!
This is a great PR move for a couple of reasons.
It allows Apple to create an impact for causes that it might otherwise overlook. And perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates the giving culture that the company fosters. The donation-matching program showcases the great work that Apple’s people do for others.
This work creates engagement with supporters of those charities. Plus, Apple’s support encourages its people to have a social conscience.
Disney – The VoluntEARS Program
Much like Apple, Disney encourages its people to give their time to charitable causes. The idea first started to take shape in 1982. That’s when several of Disney’s resort staff expressed an interest in volunteering. This idea bubbled and percolated for about 10 years before the eventual launch of the VoluntEARS program in 1992.
Currently, Disney’s cast members contribute their time to about 200 events per year. And the program itself offers financial aid to causes in two different ways.
First, it makes annual donations of $350,000 to a host of selected organisations through the VoluntEARS Community Fund. This is an employee-managed fund, which means Disney puts the power into its people’s hands.
Second, Disney follows Apple’s lead in allowing its people to convert their volunteer time into cash for a charitable organisation.
In 2015 alone, VoluntEARS donated $333 million through this and other initiatives.
Again, this is a great example of a corporation enabling its people to support the causes they care about. Disney’s people feel more engaged with the company because of its support. And they’re likely to talk about it, which creates positive PR.
Of course, Disney also has the opportunity to create press releases about the program’s great work. This creates further support in communities and strengthens Disney’s family-oriented brand.
Microsoft – The Software Donation Program
In 2012, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies had this to say about the importance of tech in developing countries:
“Access and application are critical. Service and technology are the differentiators between countries that are able to tackle poverty effectively by growing and developing their economies, and those that are not. The extent to which developing economies emerge as economic powerhouses depends on their ability to grasp and apply insights from science and technology and use them creatively.”
This is a concept that Microsoft took to heart. The company’s co-founder, Bill Gates, is well-known for his commitment to charity work. The company also helps to provide access to software and tech through its donation program.
In 2019 alone, the program donated $1.5 billion worth of software. This includes discounts, as well as free software provided to various institutions.
Access to this technology empowers people in developing nations to learn key skills. And these tech skills will become all the more important as time goes on. The technological revolution that the world is now undergoing threatens to leave many people behind. With this donation program, Microsoft does its bit to help as many people as possible to keep pace.
On top of this, Microsoft offers an employee donation-matching scheme. Plus, it pays $25 to charities per hour of work volunteered by its employees.
Few companies have such active social responsibility policies. Through its donation program, Microsoft empowers people, while actively contributing to economies by creating more skilled workers.
Shell – Job Creation (And Environmental Protection)
Like many of the companies on this list, Shell offers a gift-matching program to its employees.
That isn’t the most important thing about the company’s charitable efforts, though. Through gift-matching, Shell has managed to have a huge impact on the economy.
By the end of 2014, Shell’s gift matching helped to create 35,000 jobs around the world. In total, the company raised $5 billion for various organizations up to that point. Plus, the initiative helped save 6.2 million metric tonnes of CO2 from getting pumped into the air.
That last one is especially important from a PR perspective.
As a huge oil company, Shell often comes under fire for the damage it does to the environment. But with programs like this, the company takes an active approach to rectifying the issue.
We’re Getting Involved… How About You?
These are all great examples of some of the world’s largest brands getting involved in charitable work. And of course, this work leads to great PR that they can capitalise on.
But what about smaller brands?
You might not have the financial muscle to match these types of contributions. But every little bit helps when it comes to charity.
At Oompf Global, we’re supporters of Buy1Give1 (B1G1). Founded in 2007, the organisation has a simple idea…
“What if every business could make a difference in their own way, just by doing what they normally do?”
Along with over 2500 other companies, Oompf Global works with B1G1 to make a difference. The organisation’s unique platform allows us to transform the impact we make for clients into impact for other people.
And as our company grows, so too will the impact we can make.
So what about you?
Does your company engage in social and charitable programs? Could you do more to make a positive impact, whether through donations or your work?We believe that you can – and we know the positive PR that comes from such work will benefit your firm.
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