With corporate social responsibility fresh in our minds, I’d like to shine the spotlight on a local business that is getting it right. Ninkasi Brewing is as committed to giving as it is to growing. Its Beer is Love and Pints for a Cause programs are a solid foundation of both Ninkasi’s business model and workplace culture.
The Beer is Love program sponsored more than 600 nonprofit and community organizations in 2012. And the Pints for a Cause program donates 25 percent of sales from its tasting room to a weekly designated cause.
While researching options for a potential career change, I was the grateful recipient of several eye-opening investigative interviews. Ninkasi was my first stop. Its reputation for CSR was the draw, and that hour changed my path. I left thinking, “People get to do this for a living?”
However, organizing and facilitating a CSR program doesn’t conclude with driving a truck down the street, honking the horn, and giving away free beer. This is what it really looks like: a group of dedicated individuals pouring over hundreds of sponsorship applications, creatively organizing a multitude of logistical details, working with a media team to give events efficacy, and tailoring a calendar for timeliness. Don’t let the smiles fool you. These people are no joke!
CSR programs are also a relationship building tool to branch into new markets. Since its 2006 conception in Eugene, Ninkasi has introduced its beer to 6 states. By word of mouth? Of course. With marketing and advertising efforts? Sure. Through its sponsorship programs? Absolutely.
To unveil your product through socially and culturally responsible sponsorship is a great way to show (not tell) a new public who the company is and what it values. I have no doubt this trend in mutually beneficial transparency and partnerships will continue to grow in corporate culture. After all, being good is catching … and profitable.