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August 26, 2009 > Reasons to give back to the community

Reasons to give back to the community

Submitted By Rebecca Seipert

The economy has left many people, and the nonprofit organizations they rely on, in crisis. As a result, community service is more critical than ever. Alan L. Olsen, managing partner of CPA firm Greenstein Rogoff Olsen & Co (GROCO), recently named a Bay Area Top 25 CPA firm by San Francisco Business Times, was asked his opinion. He stated, "More than anything, what our country, communities and families require are everyday folks who can rise above their own circumstances to give back to the community. In doing so, they become true leaders, exactly what we need right now."

Giving money or one's time back to the community is more than just a nice thing to do. There are many tangible financial benefits to businesses that encourage volunteerism. Consider the following facts.

According to Graves & Walker, companies engaged in social responsibility had a 10-year positive return on equity that was 10 percent higher than their counterparts and a 10-year relative return to shareholders that was 65 percent higher. At large companies, 84 percent of executives say corporate citizenship contributes to the bottom line. (Source: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College)
When price and quality are similar, 86 percent of Americans say they are likely to buy a brand associated with a social or community cause. (Source: Cone Corporate Citizenship Study)

Walking the talk, GROCO and its employees enjoy a corporate culture that emphasizes giving back. As a result, GROCO revenues continue to achieve an astonishing double-digit growth due in part to developing a reputation for being a strong and generous community champion. "You do the right thing and everybody wins," Olsen explains. "It's a no-brainer." Examples of recent community events in which GROCO participated include: "Book Buck$," a literacy program benefitting more than 37,000 local students; "Ducks for Bucks Benefit Race," which raises funds for local charities; Leadership Fremont, a development course that includes a service project; "Stamp Out Hunger" an annual food drive.

"To become an Eagle Scout I had to implement a community service project. I have been involved almost continuously with all kinds of volunteer activities ever since," says Olsen, who serves on several boards and is spearheading a $1 million fundraising campaign for the Northern California Boy Scouts of America. "In these economic times, it's more important than ever. I know that civic engagement is rarely easy or convenient but, to me, it is both rewarding and the obvious solution to many community problems." Imagine what your employees, turned civic-minded leaders, can do for your company and their communities.

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