11 Nov 2019
Giving Back is Good for Business—and Your Health
Reading time: 4 minutes 10 seconds
There’s a common misconception that the most successful businesspeople are cold and ruthless—that it’s their “take no prisoners” attitude that helps them get ahead. However, while some people may see toughness as a business advantage, there is ample evidence to suggest the opposite is true. Generosity of spirit is, among other things, the ultimate business advantage.
For example, when you treat your clients with courtesy and respect, you attract and retain more clients. When you show appreciation for your employees, you inspire them to give you their all. On another level, when your business actively supports community welfare initiatives, the community will respond by supporting your business.
In other words, the Golden Rule—do unto others as you’d have them do unto you—still holds true. In business and in life, people respond in kind. There’s a reason why corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are flourishing these days. And why producers should consider implementing a corporate giving program scaled to their agencies, too.
The Business Advantages of CSR Programs
On the one hand, helping those who are less fortunate is just the right thing to do. The reason it feels gratifying to contribute to a good cause is because you know you’re making a positive difference in someone’s life.
However, CSR programs—even modest ones—also yield many concrete business advantages. These include:
- Your business will receive positive exposure – Let’s say you sponsor a local kids’ sports team. Now your agency’s name is on the back of every player’s jersey! When their families see your name over and over again, they’ll think of you when they need insurance.
- You’ll expand your social network - When you volunteer, you meet new people and create new relationships. People get to know you as a person first, not an insurance agent. Most people prefer to trust their business to people they know and like.
- You’ll gain knowledge and experience – Performing new activities (say, coaching your child’s soccer team or helping out at a food bank) helps you sharpen certain skills (such as mentoring or patience). Many of these are life skills you can also apply in the field.
- You’ll humanize your business brand – The not-for-profits you give to reflect back on your agency. Not only does this add a humanizing element to your business, it aligns your brand values with the charities you support. Remember, 55% of consumers across 60 countries are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.
- You attract more talented employees – A growing number of workers want to work for employers with a demonstrated commitment to corporate social responsibility. In one study, 78% of millennials said that a company’s CSR ethos impacts their career decisions.
There Are Endless Ways to Give Back
Your CSR program can be whatever you want it to be. When planning a corporate giving campaign, your budget, availability, and passions should all factor into your thinking. For example, here are a few very doable activities for insurance agents:
- If you have commercial office space, make it a drop off spot for a community coat or book drive. Or let kids’ organizations sell their popcorn and cookies at your entrance. (One nice thing about these activities is that they literally bring the community to your door.)
- Sponsor local groups and activities, such as sports teams and charity events like an annual walk/run. Get your name out there as one of the “good guys.” Remember: it may also be tax deductible.
- Volunteer for community activities. Devote a Saturday to building a new playground or dedicate one afternoon a month to an animal shelter—whatever you’re passionate about. The point is to donate your time and show your face.
- Support your employees’ charitable giving. You might give your employees some paid time off to volunteer. Or match their donations to their own favorite charities with agency funds. Or how about an office-wide volunteer project that everyone can support?
Surprise (or Not): Giving is Good for your Health
Giving isn’t just great for business, it also may be good for your health. Multiple medical studies have found that volunteering causes changes in the brain that calm anxiety, ease depression and lead to a sense of greater well-being.
Researchers have even found that performing acts of kindness can alter the behavior of genes, quieting those that trigger inflammation—which can lead to heart disease and even certain forms of cancer—and accelerating those that protect the body against disease.
And beyond the potential medical benefits, giving simply feels good. People who regularly donate and/or volunteer have a greater sense of purpose. They’re more grateful for what they have.
In short, CSR initiatives offers businesspeople many benefits. At the most basic level, generosity creates happiness—and the happier you are, the more positive your business interactions will be. Can you think of a more beneficial way to elevate the service you provide to prospects and clients? Giving benefits everyone.