Strategy

Why being a good corporate citizen is good for business.

By George Whitely, President & CEO

June 14, 2018

One of the cornerstones of Stephan & Brady’s philosophy hasn’t changed since the day I arrived in 1979: help make the community in which we work and live a better place. And although many of the ways we deliver on this philosophy have changed over the years, the basic business reasons haven’t. Here are three reasons why being a good corporate citizen is good for business.

 

A healthy community represents an ongoing source of new business opportunities.

A strong community that continually retains and attracts business represents a constant flow of potential new business opportunities. And that’s why we’ve consistently invested our corporate gifts and people’s talents in areas that help keep the Madison area strong and growing.

For 40+ years we’ve been a United Way supporter/booster. Besides our annual corporate donation, we actively encourage our staff to volunteer and contribute financially to this organization, whose primary focus is addressing the most pressing areas of need in the Madison area. Over the years, we’ve supported United Way in a variety of ways. From pro bono marketing communications services to support the annual pledge drive throughout the community, to internal staff incentives such as drawings for gift cards and Badger football tickets for employees who increase their pledge by at least $25. Thanks in part to these efforts, staff participation is traditionally well over 70%. And more importantly, Madison continues to thrive and be a very desirable market in which to live and do business.

 

Donating time and talent provides opportunities to connect with other business leaders.

Besides helping very worthy causes, supporting non-profit groups also provides the chance to network and connect with other community business leaders.

As a company, we’ve provided pro bono services to a variety of non-profits that serve our community and state. Organizations like Special Olympics Wisconsin, Madison Ballet, Boy Scouts of America, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (now Badger Institute) and Wisconsin Eye to name just a few. And I’ve personally served on the board of directors of Special Olympics Wisconsin for over 25 years. Besides providing valuable marketing communication expertise, materials and oversight, these relationships have also resulted in business for us from the companies of leaders serving on these boards who were impressed by the quality of the work we delivered.

 

Being socially responsible helps attract and retain today’s younger workers.

Today, more and more employees, especially younger ones, want to work for companies whose actions reflect their own values. And more and more, they decide to stay, or leave, based in part on how well they feel our values match up with theirs.

We established a corporate citizenship committee several years ago to identify the areas our employees would most like to support each year, whether through volunteering or making a financial contribution. This has resulted in a variety of support over the years. A few examples:

  • Food drive competitions, with winning team members receiving an extra half day of vacation.
  • School supply donations for UW Children’s Hospital’s Back To School Supply Drive, which also included a corporate contribution.
  • Secret Santa Holiday gifts for underprivileged children in our community.
  • Time off to serve at local food pantries during business hours.
  • Company-paid registration fees for employees to participate in 5K runs to raise funds for selected charities.
  • Selection of the local charity to receive our annual corporate holiday donation, which we make in lieu of sending holiday cards to clients and business friends.

So yes, being socially responsible does make you feel better about helping your community. But it also can have a powerful effect on your bottom line.

Looking for tips on what’s good for your business?  Send us an email at mlanderud@stephanbrady.com, and we’ll get the conversation started.


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