The Marco team finished 2019 by coming together to ring the bell to raise awareness and donations to support the Salvation Army – a charity that touches all the communities we serve. It stacked up to 180 hours of employee volunteering. It has become a tradition here at Marco that we all look forward to.
Being a good corporate citizen is not a new concept to Marco or in business in general. But it’s definitely becoming more important for attracting and retaining employees and customers.
Is your organization seen as a good corporate citizen? It goes beyond writing checks and sponsoring events. Although these are a good start, there’s more to the equation in your commitment to giving back.
What Does It Mean?
It has almost become cliché to say that it’s not enough to “do well” as a company, you also have to “do good.” That includes all of these:
- Philanthropy – Giving money to community causes. Be proactive on this by setting a dollar amount or percentage of profits that you’ll commit to annually. Identify charities that you want to partner with and causes you want to support to help shape your efforts.
- Volunteerism – Allowing employees to volunteer on company time. Let your employees follow their passions when giving back and encourage them to help provide leadership on nonprofit boards. Of course, certain job types are more conducive to volunteerism during the work day than others. Investing time and talent in local nonprofits and schools over time is what resonates with people. It cannot be something you simply check off a list.
- Good stewardship – Being mindful of how you spend money and resources as an organization. Seek out sustainable practices to conserve energy, minimize environmental impact, reduce waste and save money.
- Ethical practices – Being ethical in your business practices. You can give away lots of money and volunteer, but if you miss this, it means nothing. How you act as a company and how you operate need to match your philanthropic actions.
What Is the Cost and ROI?
I’ve been asked what it costs to achieve and why it matters. Both are good questions. Marco donated an impactful amount of money to over 350 nonprofit organizations last year. That does not count all the volunteer hours spent by our employees (or the resources we have put towards ethical practices and doing what’s right).
We probably can’t put a clear number on the return, but all things being equal, our customers and employees seem to like buying from and working for a good corporate citizen.
I believe it’s our corporate responsibility to give back to the communities in which we do business – in dollars, time and talent. As a successful organization of any size, it should be something we expect of ourselves. It’s common to focus on our financial performance as a business. But our “social performances” matter, too.