Giving back to the community is an American business tradition. We value local businesses that support our communities – whether that’s providing t-shirts for the local baseball team, participating at the food bank or underwriting major capital funding projects. But did you know giving back to the community also helps defines your culture – not just how the community sees you, but how employees do, too?
With today’s workforce, a culture of giving back to the community is especially important. For our youngest workers, it may be the deciding choice between choosing one company and another.
“If you do it right, those donations can drive change in your community and within your organization.”
She references Susan Cooney (founder and CEO of Givelocity), who has a record of building value and community across many genre-defining companies.
“Her mentor, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, taught Cooney that finding common threads among people who are irrelevant to your business or product is at the core of building a meaningful and successful culture. She also knows that activities related to giving back engage employees and offer them a meaningful opportunity to bond, share their personal values, and act in unison toward a common goal.”
“Combining efforts in charitable activities brings people together to share their voice and work jointly for a greater impact in driving change. Organized efforts at work give employees a sense of equality where titles and salaries are out the door.”
Giving employees time off to volunteer for local causes can result in meaningful team building and bonding time.
Companies that encourage community involvement stand out from competitors and have loyal customers and happier employees, writes Lindsay LaVine in “The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line.”
She cites a 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research that says 82% of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.
She notes that Erin Giles, a business philanthropy consultant who helps entrepreneurs find causes they’re passionate about and incorporate their message into their business, says that Millennials—your up-and-coming workforce—are particularly interested in a business’ corporate social responsibility platform. In fact, charitable involvement won’t just attract Millennials to your company; it will also ensure their commitment to you (read more about Millennial motivation here).
Ms. Giles suggests publicizing your community service work and contributions on your website. She advises posting how much your donated time or services would normally cost next to the number of hours your employees have spent giving back.
If your company is large enough, in “Give Thanks And Give Back: How Your Business Can Do Both,” Forbes contributor Steve Parrish suggests establishing a foundation as an effective long-term way to share a portion of your company’s success with the community.
“Even if that is too large an undertaking, it may still make sense for your company to have a charitable giving committee,” he writes. “A standing committee helps manage the company’s donations, plus it involves staff in a ‘feel good’ service. If a donation pool is budgeted at the beginning of the year, and a committee is in place, the company can quickly respond to emergencies caused by natural disasters and other unanticipated events, as well as have a plan for ongoing gifts.”
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and Parrish has a great perspective:
“[The] holiday always gives me a chance to relax with family before the year-end rush begins. I wish you the same experience. As you begin planning for the remainder of the year, and for the future, consider how you can give thanks by giving back, and doing it in a way where everyone wins … you, your business, your employees and your charity.”
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!
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