Beyond Cash: When Giving is Good Business

Victoria Harres Victoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, a UBM company. She leads various social media and audience efforts at PR Newswire and 'proudly' coordinates social media and the blog for Business4Better.
About Victoria Harres (22 Posts)

In these tough economic times, when companies are already pinching pennies, finding the funds for corporate giving can be difficult. But donations don’t have to come in the form of dollars, as one company has discovered.

Give Something Back (GSB), a commercial office products company based in Oakland, Calif., has a unique business model.

Like Staples and Office Depot, the company sells supplies such as paper, pens, and staplers, but unlike its competitors, GSB doesn’t distribute its earnings to owners or shareholders.

Instead, the company literally gives its profits back to the communities where it does business.

Since its founding in 1991, GSB has donated more than $5 million—around 85 percent of its profits—to nonprofit organizations working in its service areas throughout California. Each year, the company distributes ballots to its employees and customers, who vote on which eligible 501(c)(3) groups receive the funds.

“Every company gives its profits away to owners or shareholders,” says Mike Hannigan, president and cofounder of GSB. “We’ve just eliminated those stakeholders and replaced them with nonprofits.”

But while distributing its profits to charities serving the community is the company’s purpose, Hannigan acknowledges that money isn’t the only way to give back.

Read the full story of how GSB is serving the community while doing good business in this new case study from Business4Better: Beyond Cash: Giving Back and Boosting the Bottom Line

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