January 19, 2021
It still sounds crazy to hear that we’ve fed 1 million children, but that was the milestone that we hit at the end of 2020.
Of course, people being people, some will question this claim. Some will say that we’re fudging the number, or that we’re only disclosing the number because we’re just in it for the publicity, or that it’s not worth spending a lot of time talking about it because it has nothing to do with “business.”
To those individuals, here are my first two responses:
• We did feed 1 million children. The number is very real, and it is life-changing to the children who were thankful to have something to eat. Is this good enough?
• Our team here at Dedicated derives a great deal of joy and an enormous sense of personal fulfillment from helping others, and we’re not afraid to say so publicly.
However, there’s one more important thing that doesn’t get said often enough in business: there’s also a significant return on investment, or ROI, that companies can receive by supporting non-profits and socially focused businesses.
ROI Example No. 1
One source of return that we use to justify our charitable partnerships and sponsorships is that Dedicated stresses and demonstrates the importance of giving and helping others in everything that we do, and our team members consistently respond with great appreciation, passion and support. Equally important from a business perspective, though, is that we have a 14% year-over-year turnover rate among our appreciative and supportive team members — in an industry that typically suffers from a turnover rate over 100%.
The business case to be made for our charitable activities, then, includes the fact that we benefit from maintaining a happier team that is full of veterans who are excellent at what they do, and that we also benefit from paying for only 14% of the costly and disruptive training that companies with an average employee turnover rate must bear.
However, significantly higher employee retention is only one of many benefits that we receive from our charitable partnerships and sponsorships.
ROI Example No. 2
Another source of return that we use to justify our charitable partnerships and sponsorships is that, because of our team’s passion for helping others and our company’s focus on helping others, we tend to treat people better both on the phone and in the office, which leads to far better financial results for our clients, greatly reduced liability for our clients, and a continuous use of best practices by our team, which is something that other companies pay top dollar to try to develop.
The business case to be made for our charitable activities, then, includes the fact that they create a better working environment that ultimately leads to better financial results for our clients.
Other ROI Examples
There are, of course, other sources of return that we use to justify our charitable partnerships and sponsorships. Our human resources issues are basically nonexistent. We find it easier to recruit top-tier talent, we experience few attendance issues, we have seen high levels of team investment in the company’s culture resulting in a happier and more fulfilled team, and we provide a terrific product to our clients.
How We Maximize ROI
Andy Carr, VP of Development and Marketing at Feed My Starving Children, said “Feed My Starving Children is overwhelmed by the generosity of Dedicated Commercial Recovery, Inc. who have recently reached the incredible milestone of providing 1 Million meals to feed children in desperate need all over the world. The work of providing these MannaPack meals of vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice to some of the most vulnerable children on the earth simply cannot be done without contributions from supporters like Dedicated Commercial Recovery, Inc. Their faithful contributions are exemplary and is to be commended. On behalf of all the children who were fed because of their gifts we are eternally grateful.”
In my view, these benefits all start with authentic — and sometimes uncomfortable — levels of company and personal giving and serving, but what is gained is beyond words. I have seen the power of having an environment that literally changes the lives of individuals. And I have learned that when you care, your team cares and your clients share in the rewards.
To give some context, over the last 10 years, the number of collection agencies has decreased by 20%, going from over 13,000 agencies to just over 10,000. Over that same period of time, the costs of starting and running a nationwide agency have skyrocketed, with increasing licensing, technology, insurance, payroll, and legal costs all making it increasingly difficult for small firms to even remain in business, much less grow.
So how have other agencies chosen to compete? They often state that their technology is better, their people are better, their techniques are better, yet … it all sounds basically the same. It has a sense of desperation and a somewhat uncomfortable “sales” vibe to it.
And how have we, in contrast, chosen to compete? We have chosen to remain passionately focused on helping others, to create a positive social impact, and to attract clients who also care about giving back and using best practices. By being respectful of people who find themselves in trouble and by being willing to explore solutions to help them, we — a collections agency — currently have over 50 five-star Google reviews. By adhering to best practices, we have avoided the massive lawsuits in our industry that largely resulted from the use of abusive practices.
In my opinion, the best measures of our success are that we have attracted a large and increasing number of clients who find our methods appealing, and we have received numerous referrals from trusted industry advocates who have no direct tie to us, but who believe in our mission of using collections as a force for good in the world. This is truly priceless brand advocacy, and it was secured not through fake slogans or one-off publicity stunts to justify saying that “we give,” but rather through a day-in, day-out, authentic focus on making this world better than we found it.
We continue to evolve and adapt, and my personal experience has been that the more we give, the more we serve, and the better we do, the greater the returns that flow back to our company, our team, and our clients. While the world explodes with COVID, and while other agencies are closing down, we are growing and expanding our business. When negative situations arise, they tend to be quickly diffused by the way that we handle them. When we deal with people, we focus on how to help them as opposed to how to bully and intimidate them.
My team and I have benefited greatly from the realization that we could use a commercial collection agency as a force for good in this world. And I know that if we can do it, then so can you and your business. Just make sure that what you do is authentic. Start small, start somewhere, see where you can expand from there, and you will thank yourself later.
Shawn Smith is the CEO and founder of Dedicated Commercial Recovery Inc. He is passionate about establishing and following industry best practices, focusing on people first in order to generate profit, and using business to provide a sustainable way forward to those who are in need.