The trend of getting customers involved in company volunteering programs can boost brand loyalty, yield new clientele, and help local communities, according to an Academy of Management Journal article.

“Involving customers in your corporate volunteering program is good for the company, in terms of fostering a good reputation and relationships with those customers,” said Jessica B. Rodell of the University of Georgia. “But even more than that, there is a spiral effect where you can gain attention from new potential customers because the people that engage in this will go talk to their friends about it, and those friends will be more interested in you and your products.”

Rodell and coauthors Tyler B. Sabey of the University of Georgia and Kristie M. Rogers of Marquette University noted that “high-profile companies like the Walt Disney Company and Starbucks jumped on the trend early and appear to be enjoying its success. At first glance, this seems like a uniformly productive way for organizations to use their business as a force for good in society and to promote awareness of corporate social responsibility, all while gaining favor with their customers.”

Read more at AOM Insights