Scott Cullather, President & CEO, [INVNT GROUP] discusses the importance of developing a ‘do good’ strategy.
Purpose has risen to the top of the corporate ladder in recent years, as brands and organizations have either witnessed or experienced the benefits of a purpose-driven approach – these companies report 30% higher levels of innovation, and they retain their talent 40% more so than their competitors.
Our people and innovative work, systems and processes are important tenets of business success, but to do good work that makes a broader impact than the bottom line is vital. Which is why having clear purpose has never been so important as it is today.
Consumers look to brands and organizations for support and guidance more than ever during uncertain times. Take advertising: it provides them with a sense of escapism, so it’s important they step up and lead the way when it comes to doing good right now.
Develop a do good strategy, and commit to it
A do good strategy should include a mix of pro bono work, education and awareness raising, and where possible, financial donations. We give approximately 5% of our annual EBITDA to charitable organizations. It means we’re always giving back, even during tough times. This is supplemented with internal education pieces (like a DEI committee) and actual pro bono work, where projects are reviewed quarterly to ensure teams aren’t overstretched and are able to provide true value.
Employee buy-in is a must
If you’ve brought a new pro bono client onboard or are taking part in a fundraising initiative, be transparent and let the entire business know. Explain the decision, run employees through the organization’s mission and fit for the business, and keep them updated on how the project is progressing. These things are the infrastructure of any do good strategy, and essential for establishing connection between your people and your purpose.
Involving all of your people in the process creates a sense of camaraderie and ‘we’re all in this together’ spirit, as they come together to help others, regardless of department, location or seniority level. Pre COVID-19 this could have involved taking part in a company-wide sporting event or fundraiser, but some of these initiatives work virtually, too. We worked with the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD to design and produce their annual gala for a virtual audience at the end of last year, for example.
Align your do good strategy with the causes you care about and your offerings
Leverage what you’ve got. If you’re like me, you’ll be lucky to have surrounded yourself with a slew of highly talented people. So, identify causes and organizations that complement what they do best.
If you’re in food manufacturing, it might be not only donating goods, but leaning on your talent to teach people essential cooking skills by using these goods, and if web development is your thing, it could be working with organizations to not only build their online presence, but teach them some tricks of the trade. Take our work with social impact leader Ms. Opal Lee and her charity Unity Unlimited, whose mission is to make Juneteenth a national holiday. We’re both passionate about her cause and know we can help her achieve her goal by providing creative, social amplification and PR initiatives – raising awareness and event management support.
Build out a calendar of key cultural and social events
Even if you don’t work with organizations that are aligned with certain dates or celebrations – such as February’s Black History Month, they present important opportunities to do good; to educate employees, clients, and vendors about their significance. This could be through internal employee engagement events, internal and external email comms, and your company’s owned digital assets such as social media and web, where you talk through their history, what they mean, and why we should all recognize them.
Doing good presents growth opportunities for junior staff
Assigning younger staffers to lead pro bono projects, where they strategize, design and execute them under the guidance of their managers, enables them to develop their chops, explore brilliant new ideas, and it keeps them both engaged with your business and inspired by their role, as they get a taste for how and where their career could progress to.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. And right now… It’s time to start or evolve your do good strategy for the greater good of your business, people, and those who need it most.
Read the article on Forbes here.