Last week the Taproot Foundation surveyed 450 business professionals about their attitudes toward corporate philanthropy and community service. The research covered a wide range of related issues including the challenge companies face when cutting jobs while simultaneously engaging in community investment.
We will be distributing the report publicly on Friday. This week I am sharing the results of key sections of that survey and sharing my read on the implications. Today’s post covers the need for corporate leadership in giving.
Part 3: Need for Corporate Leadership
As a leader of a corporation, do you appear to have your eye off the ball when talking about philanthropy and services during this economic climate? The current mantra in business trades seems to be around focus, cutting costs and survival. How does community investment fit into leadership given that backdrop?
There is a fear in executive offices these days to support community investment. Our respondents told these executives that they should focus their fears elsewhere because they won’t be criticized for giving today.
Just 3% of professionals felt that a company giving time and money to charity right now is clearly blind to the realities of today’s economic conditions. They actually believe that companies, which are engaged in the community project confidence. Only 17% disagreed with the notion that community investment today projects confidence that a company will weather this storm. In a market that is looking for signs of confidence, it appears that philanthropy is a good tool.
Not surprisingly then, only 14% of professionals disagreed with the notion that companies should avoid publicity or recognition right now. The message–do it and tell the world about it.
Business professionals also felt that this is the time for executives to donate more of their personal assets. 68% of respondents said that those on top should be giving more now.
There is a clear role for corporate executives today–lead. Do this by maintaining your advocacy for corporate community investment and expanding your personal philanthropy and service to show how you live out your values. This is the authentic leadership we need today.
Tomorrow’s post will explore how service matters to HR today.