Corporate social responsibility and community relations have been trendy buzzwords for years, but is your company doing enough? When selecting companies to do business with, today’s consumers view products and services as just one part of their decision-making process. According to Edelman’s Earned Brand 2018 study, 64% of consumers choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
Now is the time for companies to prove they are serious about being a positive corporate citizen. How? Create a community relations program to engage employees, improve your community and help neighbors in need. Community relations can benefit your company internally (increased employee morale!) and externally (better public image!). Let’s get started.
What is community relations?
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to what a community relations program is. For some companies, it’s volunteering once a year with a local nonprofit. For others, it’s an organized, fully operational program that rewards employees for giving back. A well-designed, strategic plan is the best way to keep employees engaged throughout the year and get the most positive impact for your company.
The common denominator in community relations programs is building relationships in the region or town where your company and employees are. This can be through employee volunteerism programs or monetary support like raising money for a local nonprofit.
Why should you implement a community relations program?
There are a number of ways your company can benefit from a well-designed community relations program. A community relations program not only creates opportunities to be involved in your community, but also to enhance your company culture and attract new customers.
Connect with your Community: Your community is unique with local organizations, businesses, schools and social issues that are in need of support. By investing in the well-being of the place your company calls home, you gain long term support and loyalty from community leaders and neighbors. Your actions and investments in the community makes it a better place for your employees to live, too!
Strengthen Company Culture: Think of company culture as the personality of a company. A culture is a mix of a number of elements including work environment and the company’s values, ethics and goals. A community relations program can bring an exceptional amount of positivity to a company’s culture. In a Benevity Engagement Study, turnover dropped by 57% in employee groups most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts. When work culture allows, or even better, incentivizes, employees to be involved in community issues they care about, they are more likely to have a deeper connection with their employer.
Keep Customers Happy (And Get New Ones!): Customers today expect your company to be doing their fair share to support causes they believe in. Talk is cheap; consumers want your company to take actionable steps towards being a good steward for the community. In fact, 77% of customers feel a stronger emotional connection to purpose-driven companies over traditional companies and 79% say they are more loyal (2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study). Millennials and younger generations are a large consumer base and they support companies making a positive difference in the world. According to the 2018 Survey of Young People and Social Change, 76% of young people said they have purchased or would consider purchasing a brand/product to show support for the issues the brand supported.
How do I get started?
Now that you understand the strategic value of community relations, is your organization willing to make the investment in a community relations program? If so, congratulations! Here’s the next step:
Make sure to develop a program that will motivate your employees to participate. What local organizations are they already supporting or interested in? How can you incentivize employees who are not currently volunteering to join in? Most importantly, how can you create a positive company culture from the top where community involvement is encouraged and rewarded?
PRworks has experience creating successful community relations and corporate social responsibility programs. We know the nonprofit landscape, how to get your employees involved, and how to structure a program to have the most impact. Hear what our partners at AAA Central Penn have to say about our work to help them create AAA Cares, a program that is boosting community visibility and producing thousands of dollars in donations.
Contact us today to learn how PRworks can bring a strategic, community relations program to your organization.