Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) decision to partner with Habitat for Humanity (Habitat)—a nonprofit working to provide safe and affordable housing to those in need—and fund the building, repair, and cleaning of homes all over the world was not an impulsive one.
In fact, this partnership complements the larger vision of the brand: improving lives and creating the “experience of home” for families in need around the world.
This particular initiative includes 3,000 P&G employees volunteering on over 30 global projects, making this Habitat’s highest level of employee engagement in a single year.
I had the opportunity to discuss the strategy behind the new initiative and longer-term partnership between P&G and Habitat with Brian Sasson, P&G’s Global Manager of Social Investments, and Elizabeth Ratchford, on P&G’s Global Sustainability team.
Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:
AM: What makes Habitat for Humanity a strategic partner? How is the nonprofit aligned with P&G’s mission?
BS: Given the common focus on improving lives and alignment with how P&G and our brands can uniquely make a difference, Habitat is a natural partner. There are 100 million homeless people in the world, and 1.6 million more in substandard living. There’s no shortage [of opportunities] for us to help people turning houses into homes.
[When we look for strategic partners,] we want to apply our unique brand benefits to that partnership. In this specific case, our values align closely with Habitat’s mission.
AM: How does P&G use this partnership to inspire employees?
BS: Employees are P&G's greatest asset. We want to make sure we inspire them in most parts of their work; share their product and innovation expertise; keep them connected with the communities [in which they work and operate]; and connect them with consumers.
It’s an inspirational experience to be a part of the Habitat build, and we’re proud to offer those opportunities to employees.
With that in mind, we’ve also introduced a global volunteer site [with partner VolunteerMatch] that matches our employees’ interest and expertise with volunteer opportunities. This provides nonprofits the opportunity to post openings, and our employees the opportunity [to fill that need].
AM: Does P&G see corporate philanthropy as an employee retention strategy?
ER: While philanthropy is not formally seen as an employee retention strategy, corporate responsibility is a part of our culture and we constantly hear it’s one of the reasons people join – and stay at – P&G. As I’m sure you’ve seen, younger generations increasingly interested in corporate philanthropy.
Question for discussion: What other companies have you seen strategically aligned like this?