When it comes to Americans shopping habits, Millennials are changing the game. Instead of valuing a good price above all else, like their parent’s generation, millennials want to buy from companies that share their values. Businesses big and small can attract these customers by showing good corporate citizenship and working to better the standard of living and quality of life for their communities.

Among business executives, 85% believe community involvement strengthens their corporate reputation. In the United States, corporations donated $18.55 billion in 2016. General Electric (GE) along donated more than $36 million in 2017, through a program that matches employee giving. Small businesses might not be able to compete at this scale, but there are many things you can do to show you care.

Building a Culture of Giving

Like GE, many corporations offer to match employee gifts as a way to encourage a culture of generosity and giving. Another option is to donate funds to nonprofits when employees volunteer, giving employees paid time off for volunteering, or organizing company-wide volunteering initiatives.

Encouraging Higher Education

As the cost of post-secondary education continues to rise, it becomes harder for individuals to get out poverty. Big corporations offer tuition reimbursement and assistance programs to help employees further their education, with as much as 129% return on investment. All companies can work to further their employees’ education by hiring and training employees from all circumstances and backgrounds. Offering flexibility to work around class schedules, or developing programs to mentor and train new employees are more great way to support employees seeking to further their education.

Inclusive Hiring Practices

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all businesses with more than 15 employees to accommodate physical disabilities. But there’s a lot more you can do to create an inclusive workplace. Recognizing transferable skills, and being willingness to hire and train military veterans can make a huge difference. Additionally, offering flexibility in interviewing and work environments for individuals with autism is great way to build neurodiversity in your staff.

When thinking about corporate citizenship, keep your community in mind and develop programs that will have the biggest impact. Whether it’s contributing to food bank initiatives in neighborhoods without a supermarket, or sponsoring a children’s sports team, showing you care about the community will help build a solid reputation and attract customers.

Check out this infographic to learn more about how big businesses are helping the disadvantaged. How can your small business adopt some of these practices?

How Big Companies Can Help the Disadvantaged
Source: Best Social Work Programs

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