You probably don’t need to read a 78-page report to know that in 2020, the idea of trust is on shaky ground. People lack confidence in their governments, their economic prospects, and even the system of capitalism on the whole. This presents a challenge for organized systems such as business and  Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)–including nonprofits. But how do you build relationships with employers, customers and other stakeholders amidst an atmosphere of skepticism? The recently released 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer provides some interesting insights that hint at the way forward for building organizational trust.

  1. Consumers Strongly Believe that Companies Can and Should Help Drive Social Change
    64% of survey respondents believe that brands can be a powerful force for change, and expect them to play a role in addressing social problems. And they’re prepared to vote with their wallets in order to see that happen. This figure has leapt up 13%, just from as recently as 2018.
  2. Employees Do, Too. And They Want to Participate. 
    A commanding 92% of employees want their CEO to speak out on issues such as training for jobs of the future, diversity and inclusion, and climate change. 74% of respondents want CEOs to actively lead the way toward change, versus waiting for governments to regulate.  And when considering a prospective employer, 73% of respondents said they wanted the opportunity to impact the future of society through their employment.
  3. NPOs, NGO’s and Business: Each has what the Others Need
    When plotting organizational types (media, government, NPOs, NGO’s and Businesses) on a spectrum of competency and ethics- no type of organization was seen as both competent and ethical. However, NPOs and NGO’s were seen as ethical, but not competent; and Businesses were seen as competent but not ethical. Unsurprisingly, respondents indicated a desire for businesses and NPOs/NGOs to partner in order to build increased trust.

So, what does this mean for businesses? 

The good news is, there’s a tremendous amount of upside for building trust–and focusing on social initiatives goes a long way with a variety of stakeholder groups. By listening to consumers, empowering employees and partnering with relevant NPO’s, businesses can increase their credibility and leverage their competency for the betterment of their communities, all at once.

While many large-scale organizations have robust corporate responsibility programs, there are opportunities for companies of any size to form partnerships focused on social good initiatives.

Businesses, particularly small-to-mid sized ones, do not have the necessary resources to  develop and support skilled volunteering programs for their employees! Hence it is imperative that  NPOs/NGOs need to step in to fill the gap.

Nonprofit organizations such as Advance Social Innovation help businesses by connecting employees with effective social impact initiatives.