Brokers play important role in contributing to society

07 August 2018

Three quarters of brokers (76%) believe it is important for their business to contribute positively to society.

  • Making a difference to society and improving the reputation of their business are the biggest drivers, with charitable giving the most popular method
  • Over half (54%) feel their business could do more to assist good causes or contribute to society
New research by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed that over three quarters of brokers (76%) believe it is important for their business to contribute positively to society1.
The survey of 250 brokers reveals for the first time how brokers across the UK are making a significant contribution to their communities and meeting the growing consumer demand for a more responsible approach to business. 
It revealed that brokers’ primary motives for engaging in activities that benefit society are making a difference (78%), improving the reputation of their business (76%) and giving something back to customers (71%). 
With latest figures2 showing the public continue to distrust financial services firms, two thirds of brokers (66%) believe that contributing positively to society is an important factor in helping financial services firms change perceptions among their customers. 
Ecclesiastical, the fourth largest corporate giver in the UK, carried out the research to coincide with the launch of its inaugural Impact Report, which reveals the positive impact of its charitable and community work for the first time. 
The purpose of the survey was to understand better the contribution brokers are making to the greater good of society. 
By far the most popular activity is supporting a charity, with over three quarters of brokers (78%) contributing in this way. The most common way of supporting a charity is through a company fundraising scheme (53%), followed by providing free advice for charities (42%), matched funding for employees (41%) and employee volunteering (41%).
Charities are selected predominantly because they are local (30%) or because causes are close to the heart of an employee (29%).
Beyond supporting charities, the most common business contributions were work experience provision (61%) and sponsorship of local sports teams (58%). Nearly half (48%) of brokers support green initiatives to reduce their environmental impact, while a third (34%) partner with a community group or school. 
John Blundell, managing director of UKGI at Ecclesiastical, said: “It’s clear that brokers recognise the importance of contributing positively to society, primarily because they want to give something back, but also because they want to improve the reputation of their business. Their contribution to society also has significant implications for their commercial success, because today’s consumers and employees expect greater social responsibility from businesses, led by a millennial generation dubbed the most socially responsible ever.” 
Recent studies bear this out, showing that a third of consumers worldwide are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good3, while 58% of UK consumers boycott products or businesses because of concerns about their ethical reputation4.  Millennials – people born between January 1983 and December 1994 – believe that striving to benefit society is the second most important role of businesses and a third say a company’s reputation for ethical behaviour is a very important consideration when choosing to work for an organisation4.
John explained: “Engaging in activity that benefits the wider community is something that businesses of all sizes can do and benefit from. We know, from our own experience as the only financial services group with a charitable purpose, that the positive impact we’re making to communities motivates and attracts staff and resonates with our brokers and customers. We want to demonstrate that it’s possible to be commercially successful while giving something back to society.”
Ecclesiastical’s research also revealed that over half of brokers (54%) would like their business to do more to contribute positively to society.  
John added: “Our research shows that brokers are already engaged in a range of positive activities, but at the same time they told us that they would welcome tools and support to help them do more. For many, gaining a better insight into customers’ expectations was important in helping them to focus efforts, while a number of brokers told us they needed guidance on engaging with charities and community groups.” 
Last year Ecclesiastical launched its Closer to You programme with broker partners to help them extend their charitable giving to causes that were important to them, which saw more than £100,000 distributed to 42 charities. The scheme is set to be expanded this year. 
Ecclesiastical’s Impact report can be viewed here
1. Research undertaken by FWD Research on behalf of Ecclesiastical Insurance. 
2. Edelman Trust Barometer Financial Services 2018
3. Europanel/Flamingo/Unilever, January 2017
4. Ethical Consumer Markets Report 2017 / 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey