Helping yourself to the top spot by helping others

We have learned a lot of different strategies that firms can use in order to be competitive in the marketplace. They varied from having a quick response to offering the cheapest product. However, companies these days are trying to do everything in their power to stay competitive. There is no reason that they shouldn’t do anything in their power to be known as a great company and thus get better sales. A big new aspect for businesses is volunteering.

IBM is one of the biggest companies that has been volunteering and helping out communities since its inception five years ago. Just last year, IBM’s 430,000 employees spent 3.2 million hours volunteering. In her article Volunteerism as a Core Competency, Diana Brady said, “The company (IBM) makes sure its philanthropic efforts align with its business objectives”. They are incorporating their employees into helping out the community and those that are less fortunate. This is fantastic for a number of reasons. For starters, people who need help get reached out to and their lives are improved. There are also reasons that benefit the company. By working on these small projects together, the employees are building relationships with one another. A task force that knows each other and cares about each other can work as a well oiled machine and get things done faster than just a bunch of employees who barely know each others names. Lastly, there is also the benefit of goodwill. Goodwill is when a company is in the positive eye of the public because of the actions that it has taken. Customers want to purchase from companies that are helping the environment and the communities in which they are located. Purchasing from those companies makes the customer feel like part of their money is going into these causes that the company is helping.

As the article states, a lot of Wall Street firms need to rebuild their credibility in the wake of the financial crisis. Volunteering and getting involved is a perfect way of getting that done. But what kind of projects should they start? Regarding what to do, Diana Brady said, “Projects have more impact when they draw on a company’s strength”. That means that companies should try to get involved in a way that is similar to their business objectives just like IBM. An example is FedEx delivering emergency medicine to disaster areas. In that example, FedEx is able to help out using delivery which is something that they excel at. They get to show off their strengths to the public and possibly attract a lot of new business for themselves.

One aspect of this is that people would believe that a company is truly good and has good morals. With all the recent popularity of volunteering, more and more companies are doing what they can to help out. This is fantastic. However, are these companies helping out solely based on trying to get more sales? Either way people are receiving aid but should companies only volunteer in order to stay competitive?


4 thoughts on “Helping yourself to the top spot by helping others

  1. I think this is a good post and addresses several issues related to social responsibility. I feel firm’s feel mostly obligated to be socially responsible. Not only is it a good PR move, they save face during trying times. This perception of caring could increase sales and some companies do it for that reason. But there are also firms out there who truely do care about the cause. But lets not for the number one rule of business : To maximize profits.

  2. Corporate social responsibility is growing heavily in the business world today. Many companies even include their plan for CSR in their mission statements to show their customers that they believe in giving nak to the community. I believe that if I am a customer of a company that provides for the community then I am in a way helping them provide for the community.

  3. I enjoy spending my free time volunteering within my community and I believe that is one of the first things I research when learning more about a company. I agree that often times companies have various incentives when encouraging employees to volunteer their time. Although companies may have ulterior motives, they are positively impacting many people and I believe they should continue encouraging volunteering.

  4. This practice of helping the community by volunteering has become very common, especially in large companies such as IBM. Since companies like IBM already hold a large percentage of the market, improving their public image has an incredible effect on their sales. It would be very interesting to see some statistics on how much companies gain from helping the community.

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