There is a reason why CSR (corporate social responsibility) is a department in most mid to large-scale companies. The adage, “To whom much is given, much is expected,” has never been more true than in the year 2020. In a year inundated with so much tragedy—the COVID-19 crisis, social, political, and racial tensions in America, the devastating economic downturn, and the undeniable effects of climate change—there is so much suffering and need in the world. It is up to us to create a better future for the next generation.
And it didn’t start in 2020; the need has always existed, whether it’s homelessness, children in poverty, people who have been displaced by war, and abandoned animals in need of a new home, there are needs everywhere we look, both domestically and internationally.
While it’s true that lasting change must come from the top and the world’s most powerful policymakers and wealthy business leaders, those of us in the middle of the food chain can also do our part. If you and your company have been blessed, lucky, and privileged enough to earn despite the year’s challenges, and if you want to give back to those who need help the most, now is the time to do so. There are so many benefits to giving generously to those in the margins, and here are some of them.
While this shouldn’t be your main goal for giving donations or helping out in your community, it should be a wonderful side effect for your company. People will know your business as a corporation that cares and doesn’t just exist for profit. It would give people an incentive to keep supporting your products or services because they’ll know that a portion of their expenses will go to worthwhile endeavors.
A sense of purpose
Remember why you started your business in the first place or why you decided to work for that specific company. While it’s true that profits are the driving force for most economic ventures, there must be another vision upon which you created your company or are leading this business. It’s not naive to jump-start an endeavor with a desire to make the world a better place or to help those in the margins of society. Now that you have the means to do so, don’t hesitate to dedicate your energy and resources to charity and add a meaningful layer of purpose to your company.
Making an actual difference
It’s one thing to send out thoughts and prayers and love and light—and there’s nothing wrong with doing so—but it’s another thing to give resources that can actually meet people’s felt needs. Companies must be ready at all times to do their part in sending relief to people who have experienced disasters or for groups that have been neglected by society. When a person is starving to the point of death, they need food more than they need prayer.
Empowering the local community and encouraging civic engagement
Even the simple act of donating a certain amount to your local community church or non-profit organization, for example, can empower those in your community to do the same. It also empowers these organizations when they know that they have the business world’s backs in making a difference in people’s lives. Business and not-for-profit organizations must come together to create a synergy that effectively and efficiently reaches out to the marginalized sectors of society. Charitable giving also increases your company’s standing in the community and also boosts employee morale, making them more engaged at work when they’re allowed to be their whole selves.
Decreases tax burden
Charitable and philanthropic donations and contributions can greatly decrease your tax burden when the end of the year comes. You can report to the government all the resources you have contributed to charity to receive a reduction in your company’s taxable income. You can also do this as an individual—if you have old and unwanted items in your home, you can also claim those items’ value as a deduction. All this can add up to a substantial amount, especially if you and your company are of the higher tax brackets.
Do It Just Because
More than the social and financial benefits, you and your company should volunteer your resources, time, and energy to charitable causes because it’s the right thing to do. At a time when the world feels like it’s burning both figuratively and literally, we need to live for more than just money. And if we are to protect our bottom line, it must be so that we’re financially capable of helping those we love and those who need it the most.