In today’s society, so many big companies are seen as greedy, money-grabbing corporations, but surely it shouldn’t be that way. After all, if most of your business comes from the community choosing to invest in your company and its products/services, surely you should be giving back to the community in some way!
Philanthropy is, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, ‘the desire to promote the welfare of others’, and arguably should be part of any company’s policies. On the one hand, two thirds of 18 to 34 year olds are more likely to engage with philanthropic companies, along with 59% of 35 to 44 year olds and 47% of 45 to 64 year olds, according to Fortune, so there is an element of financial gain to philanthropy. But, more importantly, it’s a matter of ethics too – it is only fair to give back to the community from which you hope to make money.
There are many examples of companies that have done good for society in various ways from which you can take inspiration. A big name that comes to mind is Cadbury, one of the earliest examples of philanthropy in the UK. In 1824 John Cadbury opened a shop in Birmingham selling cocoa, tea and coffee, and in 1831 began producing on a commercial scale. As the company grew, so did Cadbury’s desire for social reform and to look out for the welfare of his workers, so he built a village in which his workers could live called Bourneville on the outskirts of Birmingham. This provided low-cost houses for his workers in a community environment, and this good deed certainly didn’t cost Cadbury more than he could afford as Cadbury has become one of the biggest chocolate manufacturers around, generating more than $3 billion in global net revenues.
Another big name that has contributed a lot to philanthropic causes is Microsoft. In 1983, Microsoft employees raised $17,000 for nonprofits, and, thanks to matching gifts, Microsoft employees have since donated over $1 billion to charity, as well as often donating products – in 2014, over 86,000 organisations in over 125 countries received gifts from computers to software. And, since people are more likely to engage with charitable companies, this has surely contributed to the company’s net income of $23.15 billion.
Obviously not all companies are in a position to build entire villages from scratch for their workers or donate billions of dollars to charity, but nonetheless they can take these acts as inspiration to act on a more realistic scale. There are so many ways to give back to society! Whether you choose to donate money to a certain cause, teach entrepreneurial skills to today’s youth, or even simply raise awareness for a cause, philanthropy never hurt anyone. Follow the example of companies like Cadbury and Microsoft, and do your bit, however big or small.