must play a more strategic and integral role in efforts
to solve the most pressing problems of our local,
national and global communities. So believes Larry Fink,
chairman and CEO of international asset management and
investment giant Blackrock. His colleagues in the
business community are taking note.
his annual CEO letter, Fink recently wrote:
is demanding that companies, both public and private,
serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every
company must not only deliver financial performance, but
also show how it makes a positive contribution to
society. Companies must benefit all of their
stakeholders, including shareholders, employees,
customers, and the communities in which they
continued with a series of question companies must ask
role do we play in the community? How are we managing
our impact on the environment? Are we working to create
a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological
change? Are we providing the retraining and
opportunities that our employees and our business will
need to adjust to an increasingly automated world? Are
we using behavioral finance and other tools to prepare
workers for retirement, so that they invest in a way
that that will help them achieve their goals?"
clearly agree. Research shows that 78 percent of U.S.
consumers want companies to address important social
justice issues. Eighty-seven percent will purchase a
product because a company advocated for an issue they
cared about and, conversely, 76 percent will refuse to
purchase a company’s products or services if it
supports an issue contrary to their beliefs. These
results are found in the 2017 Cone Communications CSR
the most important issues to consumers are domestic job
growth (94 percent), racial equality (87 percent), women’s
rights (84 percent), immigration (78 percent), climate
change (76 percent), gun control (65 percent) and LGBTQ
rights (64 percent).
just two years, millennials will make up half of the
U.S. workforce. These individuals, born between 1981 and
2000, have extremely high expectations of their
employers. When deciding where to work, they carefully
consider a company’s social and environmental
commitments. Many will not accept a job offer from a
company that lacks such commitment.
percent of millennials claim more loyalty to a company
that helps them contribute to social and environmental
issues. (Only 70 percent of the U.S. workforce as a
whole feels this way.) Eighty-eight percent of
millennials say their jobs are more fulfilling when they
are provided such opportunities, states the 2016 Cone
Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study.
philanthropy is a key component of any corporate social
responsibility strategy. This includes providing
meaningful employee volunteer experiences. Opportunities
to volunteer are expanding and diversifying to meet
unique employee skills and company cultures.
who serve on nonprofit boards as company
representatives, for example, enhance shareholder value
by advancing workplace diversity and inclusion goals;
developing human capital for leadership, creativity and
innovation; and fostering economic development by
strengthening communities where their company’s
employees and customers live and work. This information
appears in the Nonprofit Board Leadership Study,
conducted by Alice Korngold.
matter the size of the company, the community or the
contribution, businesses increasingly understand that a
reputation as a good corporate citizen helps them
recruit, engage and retain employees; create better
relationships with vendors and regulators; satisfy
investors’ objectives; and deepen ties with customers.
today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing
environment, corporate philanthropy is a critical
component of citizenship. It must be strategic and part
of a company’s DNA — and so much more than random
acts of kindness.
corporate tax rates recently reduced, 2018 is an ideal
time to start or refine corporate strategic philanthropy
efforts. A South African proverb states: "The best
time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best
time is today."