Ask the Experts: Corporate Responsibility, Financial Literacy & Branding
Companies across the country are hopping on the financial literacy bandwagon in droves. Some are conducting money management seminars with military families. Others are teaming up to develop interactive games, inner-city outreach programs, awareness campaigns, and a variety of other initiatives.
But what are their motives in doing so?
That is a question that we as consumers must always make sure to ask ourselves when evaluating the creditability of any financial information. When it comes to corporate support of financial literacy efforts, however the rationales vary just as widely as the initiatives that ultimately come to bear.
“Many companies claim to engage in community social responsibility for largely altruistic reasons, although there is clearly value in CSR for business reasons, in part because a growing number of their customers demand it and place relational value on it,” says Russell Lacey, associate professor of marketing at Xavier University. “With the proliferation of CSR practices, it is becoming progressively more difficult for a company to stand out for acts of generosity and good deeds.”
Could it be that we are in the midst of a high-stakes game of semi-altruistic corporate brinkmanship? Warren Buffet’s $1 billion bracket would certainly lend credence to that theory. Let’s hope it’s true.
Far more realistic, however, is the notion that corporate involvement in the greater financial good likely stems in equal parts from a sense of guilt over recession-era transgressions and a desire to make their businesses more stable in the future.
“Many communities were devastated by the financial crisis, often because large numbers of citizens were duped into risky and costly home mortgages,” says James E. Post, the John F. Smith, Jr. Professor in Management at Boston University. “A financially-educated population is a community asset, and the current focus is now on the nation’s baby boomer population, a group which is largely unprepared to face their financial future.”
(For more on how Baby Boomers are progressing along the road to retirement, check out this article from CardHub’s Ask The Experts Series.)
Ask The Experts: Improving Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts
In search of additional insight into why companies choose to support particular causes as well as information about best practices when it comes to developing an effective community service program, we turned to experts from the world of academia.
Check out their comments below, and feel free to share your favorite examples of companies promoting financial literacy in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
- Do corporations have a moral obligation to community service?
- The best ways for companies to promote financial literacy
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