OK, by now you’re probably a bit worn out from the #IceBucketChallenge taking over your newsfeed over the past few weeks. But if you had the opportunity to do the challenge, you know firsthand how
freezing cold the water actually is gratifying it is to be part of a great cause that actually makes a difference in the world.
As of Thursday, Sept. 4, the ALS Association has raised $108.4 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations from more than 3 million donors. WOW. Just let that “soak in” for a minute. So how did it all get started, and how did organizations jump on board? An ALS Association press release lists Wells Fargo, Sprint, Parsons Foundation, The New York Yankees, and Carnival Cruise Lines in particular to recognize them for donating between $100,000 and $200,000, and notes:
In the spirit of the challenge, there was some friendly competition among many of these donors. John Legere was one of the first CEOs to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge with a personal gift and passed the challenge to his peers at other wireless networks, to which Sprint promptly responded. Carnival Cruise Lines made a donation and its Chairman, Micky Arison, responded in kind with a personal match of his own.
As you may know, other brands weren’t shy about getting a little piece of the action. For example as Digiday reports, a Coke executive accepted and did the challenge with a polar bear (fake, of course) in the background; she evidently challenged a few other brands including a General Mills exec, asking him to do it with Cheerios’ Honey Bee; and a Target exec, challenging him to do it with the famous Bullseye dog.
A recent Washington Post article pointed to the trend that a good number of tech CEOs in particular jumped in on the challenge — including Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Tim Cook of Apple, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.
And speaking of tech companies, when Cars.com graciously challenged us, a fellow Chicago tech company, to participate in the #IceBucketChallenge to wipe out ALS, we accepted without hesitation and made a donation to the ALS Association to help fund further research. It was definitely a corporate philanthropy win in our books.
Of course we all did our part to improvise, so you’ll see in the below video that we decided to dump buckets of Arctic-cold water with large chunks of ice on one of our executives, Brian Donahue. He didn’t know it was coming, and the look on his face is priceless.
Take a look…
More than just a fun time
For CareerBuilder, accepting the #IceBucketChallenge was a no-brainer and a win in more ways than one. Similarly, there are benefits to any corporate philanthropy initiative:
1. You’re supporting a great cause.
First, and most importantly, it was important to us to support a great cause. It’s probably important to you, too. It’s the right thing to do and is your opportunity to make a positive impact in the world — not to mention it gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
2. It boosts talent attraction.
In a piece on AllBusiness.com, Morley Winograd — a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and co-author of Millennial Momentum — says:
“More than 85 percent of millennials link commitment to a cause to their purchasing decisions and their willingness to recommend a company’s brand to others. Millennials are likely to switch brands of equal price and quality if one is tied to a good cause.”
Hear that? And while millennials may be more vocal about it, it’s certainly not exclusive to this generation.
3. It’s good for customers, too.
Not that the primary reason for giving should be to churn greater profits, but it certainly is a welcome side effect. According to a 2013 study from marketing and public relations firm Cone Communications and Echo Global:
“Based on similar product availability and prices, 91 percent of customers will switch to brands that support good causes.”
4. Videos can help build your employment brand.
Remember the “Harlem Shake” video craze last year? We shared with you back then that even though it may have seemed borderline cliche to jump on the bandwagon, the embrace of the trend by employers indicated something huge: Understanding that video, as a recruitment tool, is no longer the exception — but the rule- to candidate attraction and aids in the overall effort of building your employment brand.
5. It boosts employee engagement.
About 7 in 10 employers say they’ve aligned their giving campaign with some of their other employee engagement programs and/or corporate philanthropic initiatives, according to a Forbes article. That’s quite a notable jump — 38 percent increase, to be exact — from 2006. In addition, according to research collected by Northwestern University:
“There is also confirmation that employees with favorable opinions of their organization’s socially responsible activities are more engaged, confident and likely to state an intention to stay with the organization.” (Kenexa, 2010).
Tips to commit to corporate philanthropy
- Research causes and issues which are important to you and to your employees before committing to one in particular.
- Once you do find a cause that you would like to become involved in, it is important to set clear goals, be proactive in your efforts, and keep lines of communication open both with your employees and the nonprofit you are involved with.
- Take steps to ensure that you are entering a partnership with the group or foundation of your choice. Philanthropy should not be one-sided, but beneficial for both parties.
Tell us in the comments below or tweet us at @CBforEmployers: What are your corporate philanthropy initiatives? How to you use it to attract and engage employees? Share your stories with us.
We know you want to see that picture again! Here it is one last time in all its glory…