Attaining business success can bring great feelings of joy and accomplishment, but if you’re keeping all the spoils to yourself, you’re missing part of the picture. Research has shown that performing philanthropic acts can make people happier and more engaged, two of the important qualities you ought to be cultivating among your employees. Integrating this kind of culture into your workplace is easier than you think. Here are a few tips and strategies to give back on a companywide basis.
Jump Right In
You didn’t make it in business by being overly cautious or letting doubts conquer your mind. Treat your philanthropy initiative like you would any other business endeavor and put your whole heart into it. This will show your employees that giving is something you take seriously and expect them to do the same. One easy way to start quickly is with the Pledge 1% Initiative. Pledging 1% of your company’s time, equity and product/service has proven to be an uncomplicated and speedy way for many corporations to get into the spirit of generosity. There’s no reason to hesitate.
You needn’t attempt to rival the Red Cross as soon as you set out. If you want this philanthropic culture to stick, it will have to grow logically and organically. Consider beginning with some simple initiatives: a day of companywide volunteering at a local event, a charity fundraising campaign, or even just an office food/toy/clothing drive. What’s important is establishing the culture, not how big or elaborate your initial projects are. Just as you grew your business, you will cultivate your philanthropic enterprise incrementally.
Get Everyone Involved
A culture of giving means each employee can be a leader. As you expand your philanthropic profile, consider all levels of your company. You’ll be setting the example up top but you’ll also want to be sure that all workers, no matter their job title, are part of the mission. Consider extending this idea to evaluating prospective hires and when bringing on someone new, seek potential team members who will fit into your culture of charitable giving.
If your business model has room for it, there’s a way you can combine your culture of generosity with your profit-generating goals. Impact sourcing is a form of outsourcing whose primary aim is not simply cutting your costs by farming out work, but providing unskilled workers in impoverished areas with simple jobs (unlike the more complicated, front-facing work like phone customer service usually associated with outsourcing) that build a sustainable improvement in their lives. Impact sourcing opens the door for business and charity to be one and the same.
Volunteer Time Off
In addition to the traditional vacation time options, an ever larger number of companies are now instituting volunteer time off, or VTO, for workers to spend their on-the-clock time helping charities. Employees can use time normally spent at the office to perform the charitable work of their choice, giving them both engagement in the philanthropic mission and autonomy in their choices. There’s no better way to demonstrate to your employees that charitable work is a priority than to make it a component of their work hours.
I personally have experienced the good that comes from charitable giving through my work with the Help to Children Project that provided an array of programs for disadvantaged youth, Flight of Hope which protects rare Siberian cranes, and other initiatives to help those in need. By involving my company, I saw firsthand how charitable activities can foster a greater sense of camaraderie between coworkers. I have always been proud to support worthy charitable endeavors, and to combine that with my business has been a very fruitful partnership.