This post was originally published on Forbes
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March of this year, companies were some of the first to rise to the challenge, whether that meant alcohol companies shifting operations to produce hand sanitizer or restaurants working to feed the hungry.
But seven months into this global crisis, is a purpose focus still relevant? Spoiler alert: the answer is a resounding “yes”. Here’s proof.
Increased Pressure From Corporate Executives
When asked if they saw an increase in leadership’s CSR expectations or demands due to Covid-19, 75% of corporate social impact professionals said they did, according to a study by ACCP and Rocket Social Impact.
New research from Porter Novelli mirrors this assessment from the C-suite side of the boardroom. A survey of 150 executives found that 88% said they understand that now more than ever, companies must lead with purpose.
Perhaps even more telling, this research also discovered that 71% of these leaders share that, in their entire careers, they have never felt more pressure to respond to social justice issues and 74% say they have a responsibility to hold their peers accountable for addressing social justice issues.
Consumers Continue To Push For Purpose
Consumers have long been supportive of corporate-driven purpose initiatives and Covid-19 has only strengthened this sentiment.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 89% of consumers say they want brands to shift money and resources to produce products that help people meet pandemic-related challenges.
In fact, some consumers don’t want to hear from brands at all unless they’re doing something to give back.
The Harris Poll found that, while 40% of respondents think it’s a good thing for brands to find a way to stay relevant amid the coronavirus outbreak, a third feel that marketers should only advertise if they’ve taken direct action to address the situation.
Consumers Are Willing To Pitch In
Point of sale fundraising programs are a tried-and-true tactic in which a retailer asks consumers to donate to a charity when they arrive at the register. These programs raise millions for nonprofits each year because they collect small amounts from large groups of people.
New research from Accelerist says consumers are still willing to donate in this way when asked to do so by retailers they frequent. The study found that 84% of consumers say they don’t mind or like being asked to donate at the register.
Employees Are Even More Driven By Purpose Now
As companies continue to hone their purpose focus with consumers, a parallel movement to engage employees around social impact initiatives continues to evolve.
Research from Porter Novelli found that 88% of employees surveyed said that working for a company with a strong purpose is more important now than ever before.
Many companies have had to pivot their engagement efforts to virtual volunteer opportunities. Fortunately, today there are ample opportunities to do so – the VolunteerMatch platform alone boasts over one million virtual volunteer opportunities.
According to VolunteerMatch, 46% of nonprofits reported they have begun creating more virtual volunteer opportunities and 36% of CSR leaders said they’re moving at least some volunteer engagement to virtual opportunities.
The pandemic is also creating more situations that require volunteers such as the poll worker shortage for the upcoming election. In response, many companies are providing additional paid time off to employees to step in to serve at their local polling location.
So, in short, purpose as a business strategy isn’t going anywhere and, in fact, is becoming stronger, more visible and more critical to the success of today’s company.
For more statistics like the ones in this article, be sure to check out Social Impact Statistics You Should Know.