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RISMEDIA, October 30, 2010—While real estate professionals across the country are doing everything they can to keep their companies profitable, many have placed their charitable giving on hold. But, it is important to note that being a good corporate citizen is more important than ever. Michelle Nixon-Watson, marketing specialist with American Home Shield discusses how being a good corporate citizen is the right thing to do for your company.

Michelle Nixon-Watson
Marketing Specialist
American Home Shield

Being a good corporate citizen isn’t only the right thing to do for your community—it’s the right thing to do for your company. In addition to the rewarding, altruistic aspects of community relations, many studies show that corporate giving helps improve a company’s bottom line as well as its reputation. With individual charitable giving significantly down due to the recent economic recession, good corporate citizenship is more important, and more needed, than ever.

Corporate giving and community relations programs go a long way toward building customer loyalty and encouraging a sense of goodwill. Companies that reach out to the communities in which they do business reap positive name and brand recognition. When prospective customers and clients see a company actively caring about the welfare of others, they are more likely to choose that company over competitors.

In fact, 92% of Americans acknowledge that they have a more positive image of a company that supports a cause they care about, and 87% of Americans are likely to switch from one brand to another (price and quality being equal) if the other brand is associated with a good cause, according to the 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Survey. Fifty percent of consumers would pay more for products from brands that support causes, according to the 2010 IAB Social Media Marketplace survey.

In addition to attracting new business today, corporate charity helps to secure future business. We all want the communities we serve to grow and thrive for many reasons. Healthy, economically strong communities have more disposable income, and financially viable and vibrant areas attract and retain quality workers.

There are many different types of corporate citizenship initiatives, including charitable giving programs, corporate foundations and funds, sponsorships, employee matching programs, and non-cash offerings such as volunteer banks or the extension of pro-bono services and free products. To be successful, it’s important that programs have clear guidelines and goals that align with your corporate objectives.

That’s what we’ve done at American Home Shield with the AHS Challenge for Change. As homeownership supporters, we also want to help spread the mission of the Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which is to improve housing conditions, while partnering with other community organizations to provide services that enhance the overall quality of life across struggling neighborhoods.

Challenge participants can vote for their favorite participating Habitat for Humanity affiliate at The affiliate with the most votes will be awarded $25,000, with the second- and third-place affiliates winning $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. The donation will be awarded in February 2011.

If you haven’t already reached out to your own community, start small or start big, but start today. You’ll see value far beyond that which is reflected in your bottom line.