In 1970, economist Milton Friedman said that the only social responsibility of a corporation is to “increase its profits.” While many unscrupulous players do remain in the business arena today, others are emerging out of the dark ages and into the light of global citizenship.
With so many recent advancements in technology and media, philanthropy is becoming easier and more incentivized for corporations of all kinds. Here’s a list of the ways technology is helping big businesses commit to global citizenship:
The Shareable Nature of Social Media
Gone are the days when a corporation’s good deeds go unnoticed. With the help of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, businesses are a button-click away from sharing information about their philanthropic projects with millions of interested followers.
By leveraging social media channels to get the word out about their positive impact, businesses are not only benefitting the world, but they are helping themselves in the process.
According to a consumer study by Cone Communications, 90 percent of those surveyed said that they are more likely to trust and stay loyal to a company that supports a good cause than one that does not. And with 64 percent of the millennial population on social media, online channels can be an excellent way for corporations to promote their positive impacts and drum up business.
The visibility of the internet can also discourage corporations from harmful social behavior. Just as good deeds can be shared on social media, negative impacts can reach millions in the blink of an eye.
Big Data Makes Companies Better Donors
Corporations are using massive amounts of electronically gathered information for everything from marketing to forecasting. Big data is one of the most valuable commodities in the business world, but can be used by companies for more than just learning about consumers.
In order to best address global issues, corporations can use the same big data to research the kinds of issues about which their customers are most concerned and by which the world is being most impacted. Digital information can be used to direct corporate dollars where they are needed most.
According to Forbes, Gabi Zedlmayer, Chief Progress Officer of HP Worldwide, called the power of data and the communication of information through technology “a powerful new way to unite people and drive solutions that truly solve some of the biggest social and environmental issues around the globe.”
Technology Strengthens Partnerships Between Corporations and Nonprofits
Some of the strongest impacts from corporations are born from partnerships with nonprofits. Corporations have funds, data and visibility that constantly elude smaller organizations. By joining forces, big businesses can immensely amplify the reach of a nonprofit, while simultaneously improving their own standing within a community.
Technology is at the crux of corporate-nonprofit relationships. Not only is online communication a useful tool for building partnerships, but the internet is an ideal platform for corporations to help launch charitable campaigns. While a small nonprofit may not have the resources for large outreach efforts, a business has a network of online followers and customers that can be mobilized.
Furthermore, the big data that corporations have access to is often out of financial reach for nonprofits. While a for-profit company may use the data to target their marketing efforts, a nonprofit can use the same information to direct services for needy populations. Sharing big data allows corporations to build the capacity of nonprofit partners and become better global citizens in the process.
– Jen Diamond