Making an impact in the community with corporate volunteer programs

Published · 2 min read

Earlier this summer I was invited to speak at the 2017 Junior Achievement Global Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA. The local Junior Achievement leadership team asked me to serve as one of their Volunteer Advocates. I was asked by the local leadership to articulate to conference attendees what Junior Achievement meant to me, why I volunteer with  Junior Achievement regularly, and how I have recruited others to volunteer with me.

Junior Achievement is something I feel very strongly about because it ties back to my own personal experience. I am a Junior Achievement alum from the 70’s. I know first hand that teaching kids real-life experiences about money and business will have a lasting impact on their everyday lives.

Sage has a global commitment to give back to the communities they serve, through the Sage Foundation. Through it Sage commits 2% of its colleague’s time (5 days a year), 2% of its cash flow in contributions, and 2 software licenses for qualified nonprofit organizations each year.

I was honored to be chosen by Junior Achievement of Georgia to represent Sage. I’m thankful to Sage and the Sage Foundation for actively encouraging its colleagues to go out and make a difference in the communities in which they live. I would not have had this golden opportunity if not for Sage’s commitment to give back.

It’s amazing that many businesses don’t realize the impact corporate volunteerism has on their bottom line. Yes, writing a check for worthy causes is a good thing. But, there is serious value to the business if you allow your employees to give back to the local communities they live and work in.

There are 3 tangible benefits that businesses can reap from having corporate volunteer programs:

Better Employee Engagement: Entrepreneur had an article as far back as 2007 discussing volunteering as a benefit, for both the company and for its employees. One executive in the article stated the following:

“[These programs] offer proof to our employees that our company cares about more than making a profit,” he says. “They give our employees outlets to make a difference and to gain satisfaction outside the work they do on our clients’ behalf.”

That sentiment still holds true today. When employees are more satisfied, they have better overall morale and become better assets to the company.

Recruitment: It helps a business recruit employees, especially Millennials. A 2004 Stanford Graduate School study detailed that MBA graduates were willing to sacrifice an average of 14 percent of their expected salaries to work at socially responsible companies.

It is the same today. A more recent article stated that three-quarters of Millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. This is a big deal, as Millennials have recently passed Generation X to become the largest part of today’s workforce.

Frankly, it is just a good look for the business: It’s not just employees that like socially responsible companies. Customers appreciate it as well. A recent Nielsen group survey found that half of consumers, surveyed worldwide, would be willing to pay more for goods and services from socially responsible companies. These same customers were likely to punish businesses that seemed insincere and inauthentic about their responsibilities.

While price and sales have their place, consumers are becoming less comfortable buying items that brands that ignore sustainability and that are perceived as bad corporate neighbors.

How much more would your company benefit if you offered your employees the same opportunities?

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