By: Kristin Mason, Supervisor, Campaign Development, Valassis
Published Friday, Mar 24, 2017
Most businesses strive to be on the cutting edge and to gain positive external exposure. One great way for them to achieve this as well as give back to the communities in which they do business is through philanthropic work. Fundraising/charitable giving, local community outreach, and support of larger, national campaigns can and should be a focus for all companies.
Corporate philanthropic groups promote community support and can increase excitement among employees. According to Forbes, “For businesses, charitable giving has an added benefit: it provides networking and marketing opportunities while also increasing the business’ presence in the community.”1 How great is that? The work being done is noticed both internally and externally, which can bolster a company’s public image and its ability to connect with consumers, ultimately impacting revenue and growth. Add social media to the mix and the exposure could be tremendous!
Forbes goes on to state, “If a business also encourages employees to participate, workplace morale will improve as each person feels as though they are making a difference in the community.” So, not only will networking improve throughout the office, employee morale will also improve. Philanthropic groups encourage employees to engage in new ways and can help them develop a greater sense of inclusion and purpose both inside and outside of the work place.
I can attest to the power these volunteer groups can have, both personally and professionally, as I have engaged in many throughout my career. Most notably, I currently have the privilege of leading a group called the Giving Committee. This involvement has helped me grow immensely by providing the opportunity for me to lead groups on various projects and fundraisers; inspire teams across the company; expand my network and make an impact in the community. I have been able to give back to my community in a meaningful way while influencing positive change on a national level -- all through work. It’s not just work though -- there is fun to be had with coworkers while planning these entertaining events. In addition, we’re able to experience the impact our efforts make on significantly improving the lives of others.
Now you know why corporate philanthropic involvement is so valuable, but if you’re thinking of starting a group yourself you might be wondering, “Where do I even begin?” To implement a successful group in your own company, a good way to kick off the effort is by polling employees to gain insight into their opinions. It is important to have passion behind any group you are organizing. Having employees invested in the project from the start will help ensure support as the initiative grows. It is also important to have direction. For example, determine if you are going to support one charity by raising money throughout the year, or if you are going to focus on volunteer efforts where employees can donate their time. Finally, it’s important to have “drive.” “Drive” speaks to the hard-work behind the start-up, and without it your group may never even get moving.
All things said, it’s most important to ensure there’s a solid focus on giving back. Employees will feel a sense of self-worth and respect for the company when there’s a committed focus on helping others. In turn, the community will highly regard a business that is focused on philanthropy.
If your company doesn’t have a philanthropic strategy, get one started -- everyone will benefit.