Making the Case for Civic Engagement

Why Democracy is Good For Business

Resource compiled by the Team at Motivote, October 2023

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About this resource

Use this resource to make the case for your company's investment in democracy. It features framing, research and stats to show that it makes business sense to invest in voter engagement.

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From the Civic Alliance Corporate Civic Playbook:

  • 94% of voters agree that ensuring all eligible Americans can vote is a nonpartisan issue
  • 81% of consumers are more likely to buy a company’s products or services if it speaks out against restrictive voting laws.
  • 76% of consumers would be more likely to work for a company that promoted democracy
  • Publicly-traded Civic Alliance member companies outperformed the S&P 500 average price/book value, gross margins, and total revenue over a one-year period.

Talking Points

Businesses perform better in democratic societies. Because companies do better in stable democracies, supporting democracy is aligned with shareholder profitability.

Businesses need functional institutions and public processes to thrive. From Business For America: "Civic health is vital to our future, just like our natural resources. In the same way that our communities need clean water to thrive, they also need politics to function well and allow them to implement public choices on important issues. So when a business seeks to improve the workings of politics itself, it is helping to preserve a vital public resource."

Voting and democracy issues directly impact your corporate goals and values. From workforce education to supply chain sustainability to regulations for your industry, it's not hard to see how elected officials and policy decisions shape business outcomes.

Corporate Civic Engagement is a continuation of the decades-long shift toward business as a force for social good. Through frameworks like ESG and DEI, companies are improving their bottom line while improving the world around them. Civic engagement is another tool that leaders can use to promote "doing well by doing good."

Civic engagement initiatives create opportunities to build employee relationships and community, which leads to more engaged teams. Millennials and Gen Z prioritize opportunities for impact more than previous generations and are looking for a sense of purpose. When people engage in altruistic activities, they gain a sense of purpose and belonging. This can translate into stronger relationships and trust, which benefits team dynamics and productivity.

Civic engagement is good for mental and physical health. Higher rates of civic participation correlate to healthier stakeholders, including better psychological well-being, physical benefits, and emotional health. For companies that want to demonstrate they care about physical and mental well-being in their communities, investing in civic engagement is a win-win.

Companies gain an edge when their employees understand how government works and participate in community processes. Especially in highly regulated industries, familiarity with civic processes improves productivity and outcomes. With the drastic decline in civics education in the US education system, employers can have an outsized impact. Legislators pay more attention to companies and consider them good corporate citizens when they know their employees are active and knowledgable.

Engaging on Democracy issues also creates a positive brand association for your customers. Consumers have positive impressions of companies that support democracy Global Strategy Group found 81% of Americans are more likely to buy from companies that have encouraged people “to participate in our democracy by providing information about issues in their community and resources to help them register and vote.”

On the other hand, it can now be seen as a business risk to not actively support Democracy because it's misaligned with stakeholder expectations. Survey respondents described companies who took a position on a political or social issue as “trustworthy,” “mission-driven,” and “bold. Companies that never took a position were “out-of-touch,” “selfish,”and “unpatriotic.”