Corporate Generosity Research Shows Georgia Businesses are Seen – And Rewarded – As More Generous Than Other States

April 12, 2019

New research into corporate generosity shows Georgia businesses are seen by working adults in the state as doing well – 10 percentage points better than other states. But the stakes are consistently higher here, too. In every age group, on every metric, Georgia adults are more likely to factor generosity into employment and purchasing preferences than the U.S. average for their age group. 

And while Georgia business leaders believe in the value of corporate generosity, there are perception gaps between business leaders and employees that point to opportunities for greater alignment and engagement. Employees – especially those under 34 — value corporate generosity more highly and rank their employers less positively than leaders do. 

The research conducted by goBeyondProfit, a business leader-led initiative influencing corporate generosity, aims to help Georgia business leaders learn from and inspire one another about corporate generosity as a key building block for healthier businesses and stronger communities. The three-part research captured insights from 104 Georgia business leaders plus 500 working adults in Georgia and 1,000 from the rest of the U.S. The full report is available at www.gobeyondprofit.org/corporate-generosity-report/.  

“Georgia business leaders understand their company’s vital role as the backbone of strong communities.  Their efforts to go beyond daily business efforts to care for the needs in their community are inspiring,” says goBeyondProfit Founder Rick Jackson. “Yet there are perception gaps that show CEOs might benefit from communicating more clearly and/or increasing this purpose driven extension of their business. Our employees and customers care more than we might realize!”  

Georgians Recognize State Businesses as More Generous Than National Peers Rate Their Home States  

A majority (more than 66 percent) of both Georgia leaders and adults rated state businesses as Good/Excellent at outreach efforts, bringing the state’s numbers in higher than the national average of 56 percent. Georgia adults were also more likely to rate their own company as Good/Excellent (68 percent vs 54 percent nationally). 

Both Georgia audiences rated their own employer/company as doing better than other state companies, with executives giving their own company significantly higher scores. 

Perception Gaps Between Leaders and Employees Led by Younger Employees

There is a statistically significant gap between what employees believe their employers are doing, and how senior leaders characterize their activities. A majority of Georgia employers report their company demonstrates five generous behaviors “a great deal” or “a lot” (between 53 percent and 79 percent) but less than half of Georgia employed adults have that same perception (between 42 percent and 46 percent). 

Compelling perception gaps between leaders and employees indicate a clear tide of higher interest and value for community giving among people aged 18-34. These younger employees consistently value corporate generosity more and are more likely to be aware of their employers’ charitable activities. 

Georgians Express Strong Recruiting and Retention Benefits – Even Stronger Than Executives Believe — Especially Among Younger Employees

About half of business leaders believe generosity benefits the business a lot/a great deal in recruiting (50 percent) and retention of employees (51 percent). But, especially among younger employees and recruits, it may be even stronger than they perceive.  

A strong majority (66 percent) of Georgia employees 18-34 and 53 percent of that age group nationwide are more likely than older adults to say a company’s community generosity factors into their decision to work for a company or to stay there. 

Respondents Cite Positive Impact on Purchase Behavior – Even Willingness to Pay More for Products 

Most business leaders believe helping the community benefits the company a great deal/a lot with Positive Reputation (85 percent), Customer Loyalty and Brand Preference (58 percent) and Financial Health like sales, revenue or profitability impacts. (43 percent). But working adults indicate even higher numbers.

71 percent of Georgians say they prefer to buy products from companies who are generous to the community while 70 percent say they feel good about associating with them. This is critical for likelihood to wear, share, work for or otherwise identify with a brand. 

A majority of Georgians (52 percent) and 64 percent of the under 34 group say they will even pay more for products from companies they believe are generous to the community. This is a significant difference from national respondents who make that claim (45 percent). 

“This cautionary tale encourages business leaders to double check their assumptions and ensure they’re offering the up and coming workforce the community engagement and purpose they desire in the workplace,” clarifies goBeyondProfit Executive Director Megan McCamey. Given that 60 percent of Georgia businesses expect to increase charitable efforts in the future, any business lagging now is likely to fall farther behind.”

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