A surefire win-win-win
The positive effects of developing a program for "giving back" has been proven to be one of the best ways to build a positive, healthy work environment.
We also know that it is easier to attract the best employees when you have a great community giving program. Additionally you'll receive positive community feedback in the form of referrals and positive word-of-mouth exposure.
How do you decide what to do during the holidays, and beyond?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Let your employees be the champions by asking them to identify the causes they care about. Let them create the program so they feel it belongs to them. Your business will still receive great feedback and your office will become known as a great place to work. Everyone wants to work for a winner!
2. Non-profits working at the grass-roots level usually know how to best serve your community and how to create impact. Talk to a few and start thinking about ideas to support.
3. Choose partners that make sense for your business. Look at what they have to bring to the table.How can you make this a win-win situation for everyone involved? In our giving last year we partnered with some of our referral sources and in doing so created a stronger alliance. We still have people that talk about what that meant to them to be a part of this event.
4. Be creative in your giving. Your employees will have more fun, the media may decide to do a story on the project, plus everyone likes a fresh approach to an old problem. For example, if you have decided to give to a food bank, have your employees make fresh bake goods, send out a press release and ask the media to announce that there will be fresh bake goods at Food Bank of the Rockies, or have the Food Bank send out a notice to their participants. The food bank, those receiving the goods and your employees will all enjoy this project. (Plus, the media just might love it.)
5. Make sure you are working hand-in-hand with your employees. These types of projects are the best team-building experiences. Employees will love knowing you are personally committed.
6. You can also pick a project that doesn't require a large financial investment. A local homeless shelter may need a garden. Your business can purchase the plants, etc., while you and your employees can do the work to plant the garden. Or a battered women's shelter may need to provide furniture to the residents as they transition to their own homes. Ask your employees to donate something they were going to sell at next year's garage sale.
This idea of "giving back" is not just limited to the large corporate agencies. As mental health professionals in private practice we can also benefit from giving too. Last year we partnered with local organizations to adopt some families in need.The stories of these particular families inspired us to take an active part in the process of giving.
We scheduled a volunteer day filled with shopping, wrapping, and creating great connections. We were able to impact so many lives from the volunteers that were moved to tears to the families that were left speechless. As the business owner, the sense of community that we created has had an everlasting impact on us. I have found this to be the true meaning of a win-win situation that is filled with so much hope and commitment to making our world a better place to be.
As helping professionals, this is our nature to help and this is one of the ways we can grow what we are doing to a larger scale. Remember that this doesn't have to be one big event each year; it can be small actions spread throughout the year.
These are just a few ideas on how to develop a "Community Giving Program." The important thing is to do it and to it well. Make sure you and your employees are committed to the project. Let your employees know that it is important, not just another little thing to say you did it. Give the project heart!
Let the project shine. This is a tremendous opportunity to let your community know you care, potentially build relationships with the media, and most importantly it provides a wonderful team building bond for your employees and you.