Many Cove businesses conducted promotions in October to raise money for breast cancer. In November, businesses advertised special offers for veterans.
Now, area businesses are involved in donating goods, services, and even employee time to help feed the hungry for Thanksgiving.
But, what’s in it for the businesses?
Philanthropic investments improve brand value and contribute to the community, said Les Ledger, a professor of business at Central Texas College. Investing in community donations can connect a company to its own employees, customers, and future customers by increasing interest and favorable opinions of the company, hopefully boosting sales.
“(Managers) hope there would be something profitable for the bottom line, but it’s also about giving back for well-managed, well intended businesses,” Ledger said, adding there are three reasons a business would participate in philanthropic endeavors.
First, the donation is for a good cause. Second, the business gets advertising whether it’s a name on the back of a T-shirt or news coverage. Finally, it positively affects the profit margin.
“Businesses have a corporate social responsibility. They are not just here for the almighty dollar,” Ledger said. “Most businesses want to help the community, and it’s usually a local manager’s decision.”
Applebee’s regularly supports fundraisers for local groups. Last year alone, the Cove Applebee’s helped dozens of local organizations raise nearly $10,000 through its Flapjack Fundraiser campaign. The restaurant’s fundraising events have been booked for the year since July, said manager Thomas Cardenas.
“With all the budgets that have been cut, this gives a lot of the smaller groups the opportunity to get out and generate donations for the things they need,” he said.
CCHS Copperettes dance team raised just under $800 with an Applebees’ Flapjack Fundraiser in October to help finance the team’s expenses.
“(The fundraiser) is something interesting that not a whole lot of businesses have done before,” team coach Julia Hamilton said.
The CCHS Bowling Team Booster Club has a Flapjack Fundraiser scheduled Nov. 30.
Ledger said a business associated with a reputable charity can evoke emotion both in customers and employees. Customers feel like they are contributing to a worthy cause, too, when they spend their money at a charitable business. Employee morale and production can also improve when it is clear a company is committed to making a difference in the community and not simply focused on turning a profit.
“Businesses hope their philanthropic efforts pay off, but most do it because they want to,” Ledger said. “Believe it or not, businesses do have souls.”