When people give their time or money to charity, they’re not usually thinking about what they’ll get in return. They want to help. It is part of being a good person and a good citizen. That said, one can experience something akin to mild euphoria when doing something truly good.
“Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more),” wrote the authors of a study by the Harvard Business School.
While that is a great feeling, the reason most people give is that they know it is the right thing to do.
The truth, though, is that – at least for philanthropic companies – there are larger benefits than just feeling good. Charitable giving creates a positive image in the community, improves internal corporate culture, and attracts and retains quality employees.
Blair and Rosayln Hyslop, who more than years ago took over Mrs. Dunster’s, a successful bakery in Sussex, found this out somewhat by accident. As business owners, they have actively taken on leadership roles to make the region even better, including as founding partners of The Million Dollar Pledge.
“When we started this effort four and a half years ago,” says Blair Hyslop, “we felt that, as runners of a business like Mrs. Dunster’s, we kind of have ‘Super Powers,’ and we wanted to use our superpowers for good. Also, it feels natural for us to do this…so we do it. It’s something you ought to do. We felt it was a responsibility as a family owned company to help the community. Also, there are not a lot of locally owned and operated companies in this area <that have the capacity to do this> so we have more of an obligation to give back.”
…we wanted to use our superpowers for good,” said Blair Hyslop
What was really interesting was the way the community reacted, sometimes resulting in direct new business. “We’d meet people in public who would congratulate us on our contribution to the community,” explains Hyslop, “and…then they’d make more orders. We didn’t do it to grow business, so we were surprised it really had an impact. Business has grown 30% over the four years since we took over.”
Recruit and retain…especially ‘millennials’
- 76 per cent of millennials consider business a force for positive social impact. 77 per cent of millennials have involved themselves in a charity or “good cause.”
- businesses supporting employee volunteer activities benefit from an improved public image (33 per cent), employee morale (21 per cent) and relations with the surrounding community (17 per cent) (Knowledge Development Centre of Canada)
“We’ve had cold calls from people,” says Hyslop, “saying: ‘I want to work for a company where I can have an impact in my community.’ ”
They get these kinds of calls at least once a month.
“In fact,” he adds, “It comes up in interviews. I had an interview yesterday with someone who wanted to use THEIR superpowers for good.”
In addition to the increased support from the community, there have been internal benefits as well, including a positive impact on corporate culture. They confirmed this via an Employee Engagement Survey.
“82 per cent of employees are proud of Mrs. Dunster’s as a community member,” Hyslop points as as a highlight from the survey results. “Which, compared to other businesses, we are told is a significant number.”
A flood of support
Giving back paid off during the flood of 2018, which severely impacted Kredl’s, the local market in Hampton recently added to the Mrs. Dunster’s fold. “A whole bunch of community members showed up,” says Hyslop, “and helped with pumps and to place 4,000 sandbags, and afterwards cleaned up enough stuff to fill 20 dump trucks.”
The result? Kredl’s had their best sales in four years.
In the big picture, this is a true win-win situation. Using your superpowers for good can have a super effect on both your community and your bottom line.