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Honing your partnership pitch: Georgians go big for corporations that give back

As nonprofits across the state gear up their GAgives on #GivingTuesday campaigns, and start seeking matching grants and other partnerships from the state’s businesses, new statewide research released from goBeyondProfit bolsters the case for a team-up. In short: This research shows that the more entrenched and visible a company’s community engagement strategy is, the more loyalty they’ll generate among their workforce and customers – especially here in Georgia.

This year, goBeyondProfit conducted a study of corporate generosity which showed that Georgia businesses are seen by working adults in the state as doing well in terms of giving back to the community – 10 percentage points better than in other states. But the stakes are consistently higher here, too. In every age group, on every metric, Georgia adults are more likely to factor generosity into employment and purchasing preferences than the U.S. average for their age group.

And while Georgia business leaders believe in the value of corporate generosity, there are perception gaps between business leaders and their employees: employed adults value corporate generosity more highly, and rank their employers less positively, than leaders do.

This research captures insights from 104 Georgia business leaders and 500 working adults in Georgia, and 1,000 working adults across the rest of the U.S. As the experts poised to meet the opportunity gap captured in our study, nonprofits can use these same insights to frame their value to business partners: ensuring they grasp the community’s needs and realize meaningful impact.

It's no longer a question of "if" a company should be engaged in community needs, but "how."

goBeyondProfit’s research elevates the question of corporate philanthropy: It’s no longer a question of “if” a company should be engaged in community needs, but “how.” We hope nonprofits will use this study to claim their vital role in ensuring business effectiveness. With the best-crafted partnership, companies and nonprofits can build stronger businesses and healthier communities together.

Some top takeaways, and potential headlines for your pitch:

  • Georgians consider Georgia businesses to be more generous than their national peers consider their own home state’s. A clear majority (more than 66 percent) of Georgians in the study rated state businesses as “Good/Excellent” at outreach efforts, significantly higher than the national average of 56 percent.
  • Perception gaps between leaders and employees are led by younger employees. There is a statistically significant gap between what employees believe their employers are doing, and how senior leaders characterize their activities. A majority of the “Georgia leaders” group report that their company demonstrates generous behaviors “a great deal” or “a lot,” but less than half of the “Georgia working adults” in the study have that same perception.
  • Further, the data indicates a clear tide of higher interest in community giving among people aged 18-34. These younger employees consistently value corporate generosity higher than others, and are more likely to be aware of their employers’ charitable activities.
  • Georgians ascribe strong recruiting and retention benefits – even stronger than executives believe, especially among younger employees – to corporate giving. About half of business leaders believe generosity benefits the business “a lot/a great deal” in recruiting and retention of employees. It may be even greater than that, especially among younger employees and recruits: A full 66 percent of Georgia employees 18-34, and 53 percent of that age group nationwide, say a company’s community generosity factors into their decision to work for a company or to stay there.
  • Respondents cite positive impact on purchase behavior – even willingness to pay more for products. Most business leaders believe helping the community benefits the company “a great deal/a lot” in terms of Positive Reputation, Customer Loyalty and Brand Preference, and Financial Health factors like sales, revenue, or profitability impacts.
  • At the same time, the working adults group returned even higher numbers: 71 percent of Georgians say they prefer to buy products from companies that are generous to the community, while 70 percent say they feel good about associating with them. A majority of Georgians, including 64 percent of the under-34 group, say they will even pay more for products from companies they believe are generous to the community.

Note that 60 percent of Georgia businesses expect to increase charitable efforts in the future, indicating a good opportunity for nonprofits’ outreach efforts going forward. Now is a great time to check out the full report, and take full advantage of the chance to partner, and lead, for greater impact.

Megan McCamey is executive director of goBeyondProfit, a first-of-its-kind business leader-led initiative influencing corporate generosity for healthier businesses and stronger Georgia communities.

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