For the past 18 years, Cone Communications has conducted research delving into the American consumers’ attitudes and expectations of companies to support social and environmental causes. This year, it took the study beyond U.S. borders to provide insight for organizations implementing programs around the world.
For my first look at the nearly 80-page report, I went directly to the insights related to volunteer engagement. Here are a few of the tidbits I found:
- Consumers need coercing to give their time:
A whopping 78% of global consumers say they would volunteer if given the opportunity, yet a smaller number (39%) report having volunteered in the past 12 months. From the report: “There is a great opportunity for companies to provide the inspiration consumers need to act. Donating, volunteering and giving feedback are the areas that showed the greatest gap between consumer desire and behavior. Evidently, consumers want to participate; they may just need to be asked.”
- U.S. consumers want companies to focus their efforts locally:
Economic development is the issue on the minds of most American consumers – 43% say economic development is the issue they most want companies to address. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a similar number (47%) of Americans also want companies to focus on local issues, versus 36% of respondents globally. Americans are focused on rebuilding local communities and want companies to do the same. Keep this in mind when deploying your own employees to volunteer – staying close to home may be your best strategy.
- Consumers want companies to donate employee time and expertise:
Global consumers believe it’s important for companies to leverage all their business assets to address issues, including employee time and expertise (86%). However, companies can’t stop there. An even higher percentage say it’s important for companies to adjust their operations to address issues (96%) for greater impact. Some companies are answering this call – allowing new practices, innovations or entities to stem from employee volunteer efforts. Check our recent coverage about how a group of General Mills employees turned their employee volunteerism project into a stand-alone organization.
The researchers note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to corporate responsibility on a global scale. When implementing a program globally, attention must be given to the cultural and geographic nuances of each community. Check out the full report for country-specific insights and commentary from experts around the world.
Don’t miss our exclusive webinar with Cone Communications on November 16, 2011. Insights Supervisor Sarah Kerkian will share more of the study findings and explain how companies can tap this consumer passion for business and social opportunity.
Register for this FREE event
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
10-11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET)