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6 ways community engagement can help grow your business

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report found that businesses are now more trusted than government, NGOs, and media.

However, 45% of survey respondents stated that scientists do not know how to communicate with people like them and worryingly, 74% of survey respondents reported that they are just as likely to trust their peers as they are scientists about new innovations and technologies. Now more than ever, having a clear social purpose and strategic engagement with communities is critical for STEM organisations’ success.


There is huge potential to use the public's trust in business for good - to shift societal attitudes towards STEM innovations and inspire the next generation to be part of this growing workforce. Contributing your organisations’ time and resources to local causes and community programmes goes a long way to building trust, understanding and loyalty amongst your clients, customers and the wider public.

"Corporate philanthropy has evolved significantly over the past several decades to a point where it is becoming an important part of corporate strategy" - Hess, D. et al.

The benefits for organisations committed to transformational community engagement include:

1. Public relations and brand enhancement: Companies that are actively involved in community engagement often receive positive, organic media coverage and public recognition. This can enhance their reputation and brand image.

2. Positive company culture: Working with the community can boost employee morale and motivation, supporting a more positive company culture. It provides a sense of purpose and fulfilment, leading to increased job satisfaction and a positive work environment.

3. Employee recruitment and retention: Companies that demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and ‘living by their values’ are more attractive to prospective employees. Employees are also more likely to stay with an organisation that supports their personal values and provides opportunities for meaningful experiences.

4. Team building and collaboration: Community engagement activities offer opportunities for employees to work together outside of their usual work environment. This can strengthen teamwork, foster collaboration, and improve communication among colleagues.

5. Skill development and learning: Community engagement provides employees with opportunities to develop new skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, and project management. It can also broaden their perspectives and understanding of social issues.

6. Networking and relationship building: Community engagement activities allow employees to connect with community members, local organisations, and other stakeholders. This can expand the company's network, create goodwill, and strengthen relationships with the community.

 There are several ways in which companies can engage with the community through STEM. In our Practical Guide to STEM Community Engagement, we outline just some of the activities you could participate in and how they contribute to building understanding and passion for science and technology in our communities:

Interested to learn what transformational community engagement could look like? Contact the STEM Alliance Aotearoa team for bespoke advice and guidance on how to maximise your STEM engagement efforts.


Edelman Trust Institute (2024), 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility, Nadia Reckmann, 5th Sep 2023 @

Hess, D., Rogovsky, N., & Dunfee, T. W. (2002). The next wave of corporate community involvement: Corporate social initiatives. California management review, 44(2), 110-125.

Deloitte (2020), The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020,


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