Everyone wins when you invest back into the community

The business case for giving back

Successful business leaders know financial growth isn’t the only measurement of a company’s prosperity. Investing in people, products and services also plays a significant role in performance and morale. But another important, yet often overlooked, investment a company needs to make is in the community it serves. And those that commit to this will quickly discover it not only benefits the community, but their business as well.

The business case for giving back

From a pure business perspective, the benefits of giving back to the community are twofold. First, today’s consumers are increasingly seeking to do business with companies that provide social value. Mintel research reveals that 50% of Americans would switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in, while 53% expect brands to improve their local community.

Second, employees want to work for companies that reinvest in the community, and those who do are shown to be more connected to their work. Research from Double the Donation shows that nearly 60% of employees who are proud of their company’s social responsibility are engaged in their jobs. Not only does community involvement motivate your customer base, it also inspires current employees and could help recruit future talent.

Recognize your business impact

There are many ways to support the community, including in both your core business offerings and your (and your employee’s) time and resources. While some may not intuitively draw a line between your business and community support, understanding and recognizing the value your business provides to the local community is one that you should be proud of and, when appropriate, celebrate.

For example, from a financial services company perspective, we have the opportunity to support our communities by providing financing for businesses, such as working capital loans that support job creation and retention, funding for expansions and offering critical operational solutions for items like payments management. We also provide key business counsel for long-term strategic items like succession and exit planning, mergers and acquisitions and so on.

While these are items that contribute to our bottom line, they’re also ones that drive customer growth and, by extension, the community’s growth.

Encourage and engage your employees

We also believe it’s important to inspire and support our associates to take part in corporate volunteer initiatives. At UMB, our community involvement goal is to enable associates to be their best, both personally and professionally. It’s an integral part of our culture and also a point of pride. We offer associates paid volunteer time off and matching gift programs. As a result, company-wide efforts led to more than $2.4 million in financial contributions and 10,500 hours spent volunteering with more than 675 nonprofit organizations in 2018 alone.

Community and employee engagement should be viewed as two sides of the same coin, and businesses will maximize the success of each endeavor by dedicating resources to both.

Partner with purpose

Finally, there are indirect and wide-ranging benefits to becoming a charitable sponsor and partner in the local community. At UMB, we’ve been privileged to support and work with many outstanding organizations, including our long-term partnership with Denver Botanic Gardens, which recently marked its 10-year anniversary.

The UMB Bank Amphitheater at the Gardens aligns with all four of UMB’s community involvement pillars—agriculture, arts, financial education and self-sufficiency. The Amphitheater’s Summer Concert Series plays a significant part in funding all the Gardens’ work, which includes growing food at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms with the assistance of teams from Veterans to Farmers, a program which trains veterans for careers in agriculture. This produce is then used to supply community-supported agriculture shares and offers healthy food options to underserved communities with pop-up farm stands. Denver Botanic Gardens also leads education and outreach efforts and assists nearby cities and counties with sustainable landscape designs.

The importance of investing in your community cannot be overstated. Not only is it advantageous to your bottom line, but it boosts employee morale and enables you to help the community that has helped your business thrive. In the end, everyone wins.

(This sponsored content was provided by UMB Bank.)

Paul Williamson joined UMB in 2004 and is currently UMB Bank president for the Colorado region. In this role, he is responsible for strategic development and growth. As a part of this, he leads the commercial banking team and is responsible for all banking, wealth management and retail operations for the region.

Categories: Management & Leadership, Sponsored Content