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JK Rowling and the Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility

July 31st marks JK Rowling’s birthday. In addition to of course being famous for writing the beloved Harry Potter series, Rowling is also known for being one of the most philanthropic individuals in the world today. In fact, Rowling was knocked off Forbe’s billionaire list – not because the world is no longer in love with all-things Harry Potter (which is estimated to be worth more than $15 billion), but because her extensive charitable giving have knocked her back down to being simply a member of the millionaire’s club. Rowling has said in regards to her philanthropic work, “You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.” That giving includes supporting organizations linked to poverty, multiple sclerosis, children’s welfare and illiteracy. Additionally, three books that she has written for charity — “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” — have raised almost $30 million for various initiatives.

Rowling’s birthday offers a great opportunity to discuss the importance of corporate social responsibility. Brands who embrace CSR earn a stellar reputation through their philanthropic work and send a powerful statement of what they stand for in an often-cynical business world. While no company can individually solve the world’s problems on their own, CSR is nonetheless a valuable way to for businesses to benefit society while simultaneously benefitting themselves. Below are the top 3 reasons why companies should embrace CSR.

  1. Customer Engagement. As this article from Forbes points out, using CSR can help you engage with your customers in new ways. Since the message is about something “good,” it can often be an easier way to talk to your customers. This is an underused tool for business-to-business company communication. Launching a successful CSR campaign can ultimately drive sales, as consumers are more inclined to purchase goods and services from a brand that they feel is doing their part to give back. Additionally, it’s also a great way to boost brand recognition and generate media coverage and publicity.
  2. Employee Engagement. Enacting a CSR policy that encourages employees to get involved and give back is a great way to improve company culture and employee retention. Employees today, particularly millennials, want to feel connected to their workplace. Studies have shown that a robust CSR framework can help a company become more attractive to potential future employees who are looking for workplaces with socially responsible practices, community mindedness and sound ethics.
  3. Improve Relationships with Clients. As Cube Group shared, a strong CSR framework is essential to building and maintaining trust between the company and clients. It can strengthen ties, build alliances and foster strong working relationships with both existing and new clients. One way this can be achieved is by offering pro-bono or similar services where a company can partner with not-for-profit organizations to support their public value outcomes, where funds or resources may be limited.  In turn, this helps deliver public value outcomes that may not have been delivered otherwise.