Why Giving Back Makes Business Sense

TORONTO – Can giving back improve your bottom line?

Some 53 carriers across Canada have joined the Trucks for Change Network (T4C), a non-profit company that acts as a broker to connect charities with carriers who can provide reduced-cost or free goods movements.

Since launching in 2011, T4C members have moved over four million pounds of donations to support charities and communities across Canada and in that process, they saved about $125,000 for charities such as Food Banks Canada, Habitat For Humanity Canada, and Canadian Red Cross.

T4C now has about 14,000 tractors and 27,000 trailers in their network.

“We try to find one of those 14,000 trucks at the right time, at the right place, on the right day to assist with charity freight,” says Pete Dalmazzi, president and founder of T4C. “The freight is not always hauled free of charge, often it’s at discounted rates, which still is a benefit for the charity but also a benefit for the carrier, who is getting something back for their available capacity.”

Dalmazzi says T4C strives to create a win-win situation so that charitable giving is sustainable.

“Carrier members are getting paid for empty space,” he says. “They have the option, when they see a charity request that matches a direction and lane in which they are either empty or have LTL capacity; they can post an offer to that charity, which actually adds revenue to their business, but that is also discounted enough that it saves the charity money. “

Joining T4C is voluntary and membership costs only $180 a year.

Everyone’s doing it

“The trucking industry has always been very generous with our communities,” Dalmazzi says. “And we’re trying to promote the good work that the industry’s doing. By adding it all up we can show the difference we’ve made. For example, since we started in 2011, our members have donated over $125,000 worth of services to the charities that we work with. No one knew what it amounted to before we came along because everyone was doing it quietly.”

It goes without saying that doing charitable work improves your company’s brand image and at benefits the trucking industry as a whole by improving the overall perception of the industry. But with that said, here are some other benefits to getting involved:

EMPLOYEE RETENTION: Charity fundraising events can act as team-building events as they require collaboration. The Manitoba Trucking Association, for example, recently organized a truck pull in support of United Way, where 10-member teams competed to see who can pull a 19,000-lbs. truck 100 meters the fastest. The 12 competing teams raised $6,000. And of course, all across Canada, truckers got together in convoys to raise money for Special Olympics. In Manitoba, special Olympians even got to ride along in the 190 participating trucks and the event raised about $59,000.

“Company teams doing walks, runs and rides for health-research charities and things like that all add to that feeling of teamwork and engagement at work and will create employee loyalty within those companies,” Dalmazzi says.

CUSTOMER RETENTION: Whenever companies have a common value with the customer, that creates a stronger business relationship.

“Many of our sponsors who supply services and products to motor carriers are involved in T4C because they have the same values as and believe in giving back to the communities as our members do,” Dalmazzi says.

Plus, you’ll be at the same events as the customers and that helps to build a stronger relationship.

WINNING THE TALENT RACE: Wages and workload are important, it’s undisputable, but those factors only come into play once the applicant has applied for the job, according to a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) Transportation and Logistics report called “Winning the Talent Race”. Trouble is, not enough young people are interested in applying for those jobs in the first place, PwC found.

However, statistics are on your side. From the beginning, the millennial or Y generation – born between 1980 and 2000 – faced an uphill battle to find their economic footing because they were born in the (lengthy) shadow of baby boomers. Now, many Gen Y-ers are out looking for jobs, and not having much luck,  according to StatsCan. Youth unemployment is at peak highs.

On the other side of the spectrum is trucking, booming with job opportunities and driver seats waiting to be filled. By 2021, the trucking industry will need at least 153,000 additional workers just to address the increase in demand, current vacancies, and retirements in an aging workforce. By 2025, Gen Y – about 80 million strong – will make up some 75 percent of the world’s workforce.

“Generation Y are much more attuned to corporate social responsibility,” Dalmazzi says.  They’re very attuned to the environment, and T4C stands out as an environmentally helpful program because most of the goods T4C partners carry would otherwise go to landfill sites.

“So,” he says, “there’s an environmental benefit as well.”

PwC agrees: “Initial decisions [to apply for a job] are often made on the associations job seekers have with the company and its image.”

A recent Supply Chain & Logistics Executive Employment Market Survey Report looking at the main reasons why job seekers accepted a position in a logistics company found that “’employer values’ tied with job security as the third-most-cited criteria (after “more money” and “career advancement”)

“Fifteen percent rated [employer values] as the most important factor in their decision, almost as many as cited salary concerns (20 percent),” the report shows.

So charitable giving will help create a brand image that’s more attractive to young potential employees.

What’s more, some carriers, many trucking associations and other transportation clubs have even set up scholarship funds to help students, and especially students working to enter a trade related to transportation, with their heavy tuition costs and that could improve the pool of candidates, PwC states. 

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