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Posted by Sarah Brown on 19 Jan '21

Why business and charities need each other in 2021

2020 has demonstrated how much we all rely on each other and a planet that works. People want the learning from the pandemic to be reflected in the post-covid world. The number 1 trend is Build back better.

2020 has demonstrated how much we all rely on each other and a planet that works. People want the learning from the pandemic to be reflected in the post-covid world.

The number 1 trend that Global market research company Euromonitor International has identified for 2021 in its 'Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2020' report released today is Build back better.

They say "In 2021, consumers expect purpose-driven initiatives that support the triple bottom line – people, planet and profits. Nearly 70% of professionals expect consumers to be more concerned about sustainability than before Covid-19."

They also identify that in 2020, 29% of global consumers were actively involved in political and social issues.

The annual report reveals the trends that the company believes will define consumer behaviour and influence business strategies in the year ahead. You can get the full report here.

People are reassessing their priorities and identities in pursuit of a more fulfilled life and improved mental resilience. The report notes that depression and mental health had a moderate or severe impact on 73% of global consumers' everyday lives last year.

People are thinking about the environment more, budgeting more cautiously and purchasing value-added and affordable products and services. They are working differently and want to associate with businesses that are acting ethically and thinking about more than money.

Many high profile companies are moving to being more driven by purpose than money. They have shown that purpose-driven operations can help drive customer engagement, ultimately leading to better financial results alongside "doing good".

Unilever's tag line is "Making sustainable living commonplace for eight billion people," and Alan Jope CEO, was recently quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek saying "… by positioning our brands on doing real good, by running our supply chain in a sustainable way, by being a responsible employer and creating great opportunities for people, a byproduct will be better financial performance."

The Business Roundtable with almost 200 large-company CEOs - representing more than 15 million employees and more than US $7 trillion in annual revenues – has stated that a corporation's purpose is no longer to maximize shareholder value, but to serve all stakeholders. Business is no longer about profit.

Similarly, the majority of charities are having to rethink having been hit financially during the pandemic.

Both sides, business and the third sector, including charities and social enterprises, can help each other adjust to this more complex world.

The coronavirus pandemic's spread has made the mutual reliance between companies, communities, employees, customers, and other stakeholders startingly apparent. The only way to survive and thrive is by considering all stakeholders. To think beyond profit to broader goals if you are a business.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a humbling experience for everyone.

Notably, the pandemic, with all its discussion balancing people's health against the health of the economy, has highlighted how inextricably connected business is to society and society to business. Even the world's largest organizations are not powerful enough to stave off the damage caused by a pandemic.

Events of 2020, including Black Lives Matter and increasing concern about the environment, also impact business and the third sector and how they need to think and act. Both can learn from each other and work together.

In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility, there is an interesting article in Forbes about the ten trends to watch in 2021.

They list them as:

  • Searching for the truth
  • Achieving carbon neutrality
  • Standing with employees
  • Pursuing purpose over passion
  • Looking for the next big thing
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Global Giving
  • Virtual Volunteering
  • Supporting Small Businesses
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Many of these can be most effectively addressed by businesses and charities collaborating and working together.

There are opportunities, particularly for smaller charities and social enterprises, to find corporate partners where they can align their purposes. The sectors need to think creatively about how they can work together for joint success.

For example, while virtual volunteering has existed for many years, this trend will grow in 2021. Last year, many companies expanded their virtual volunteer efforts, but often this was a knee-jerk reaction to the situation. The shift to working from home and more flexible work arrangements post-COVID will need to embed opportunities to do virtual volunteering in the same way office-based staff get days off to volunteer in person. If charities or social enterprises can develop creative ways to make virtual volunteering easy and relevant for businesses, both sides will prosper.

We can help you if you need ideas and you can read more here:

Two high profile examples of charity and business collaborating

Collaboration is the key to future success in business

The three ways to grow your organisation

5 reasons any charity should develop partnerships

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