In today’s Denver Post, on Page 8B, Wells Fargo Bank had a full page ad titled” We Create Connections.”  The color ad has a paragraph at the top discussing Wells Fargo’s community investments.  “At Wells Fargo we believe in investing in the communities we serve.  But it’s more than just writing checks.  It’s about creating connections between customers, team members, and local non-profit organizations.  That’s why our team members in Colorado spend thousands of hours volunteering, serving on boards, and participating in community events.  Checks are important too.  Which is why Wells Fargo is proud to be a leading donor to Colorado non-profits, contributing more then $3.7 million in 2007 alone.  Wells Fargo salutes these outstanding organizations and the work they do to help make our communities great places to live, work, and do business.”

Below the paragraph, the bulk of the ad is taken up with an alphabetical list of names of more then 800 organizations that Wells Fargo supports.  Very impressive! 

Four things I liked about the ad:

1.  Wells Fargo put the information out into the community about what they do so that everyone reading the paper has a sense of them as a company.   They went beyond just having a section on their website or in an annual report that goes to customers and other stakeholders.

2.  Wells Fargo provided a concrete dollar value for the support they have provided to Colorado nonprofits – $3.7 million represents a significant chunk of change and service hours provided to strengthen efforts to address local issues!

3.  They list the names of more than 800 organizations – it is a great visual but when reading the list, it is easy to see the wide variety of causes and organizations they support.  Says something about their community engagement for sure.

4.  While I usually am “all about” having businesses focus on fewer rather than greater numbers of nonprofits and causes to support, in this case that was clearly not the approach used by Wells…However, I am also “all about” tying a company’s community giving to its business goals.  In this case, Wells Fargo customers represent a wide cross section of the local population having many different causes they support.  Therefore, it is definitely in Wells Fargo’s business interest to support as many different types of organizations as possible in Colorado.  Absolutely fits with their business goals.

5.  OK…and I guess there is also a fifth thing I liked about this ad – Wells Fargo states they are about more than writing a check and instead provide other forms of support as well, including employee volunteer time.

There is more information about Wells Fargo in the community on their website.  On their community home page, it states company wide they are “Giving Hope: $266,000 per day to non-profits and 611,000 employee volunteer hours in 2007.”

Well done, Wells Fargo even though I no longer use you as my banking institution!  How can your company follow Wells Fargo’s lead and share what you are doing (whatever that might be and however comparatively small) with your current and potential customers?  It matters!