Three ways to create a culture of giving
The holiday season brings out the best in businesses. Leaders tend to be a little more intentional about philanthropic initiatives, giving to charities, and offering extra holiday perks and parties around the office. But what if we took these seasonal actions and applied them to business practices year-round? We can create a culture of giving by leading by example, encouraging employee participation and implementing internal systems that integrate philanthropy practices into business operations.
At our company, we create a culture of giving year-round by partnering with larger, like-minded organizations to advance our community’s needs. Whether it’s volunteering at a blood drive or food bank, our goal is to constantly build and establish strong community partnerships that often turn into great business connections. Your business can do the same! For example, every quarter our team sets a goal to do one community service project. This allows us to connect with those most in need in our community and lets others know that our company is committed to serving it beyond the holiday season. As the saying goes, there is power in numbers, so by joining forces with other area businesses in your community, the greater social and professional influence you and your brand have on your community.
Establish a Professional Philanthropic Vision
A giving culture requires a group of people aligned with a purpose. Discuss with your team how serving your community can be an integral part of your overall business operations and represent your company’s personality. One of the best ways to do this is to think about the fact that as a business, regardless of the industry, you are serving clients and customers regularly, therefore, it only makes sense to tap into your community’s needs to better understand how you can serve them professionally. In addition, by volunteering consistently, your business can create connection points that align with your vision and values from an organizational standpoint. It also gives employees opportunities to participate as well. Since service is a part of our company’s personality, it attracts people who are energized by a place where they can identify with others in a professional environment.
For example, within our company, caring for the community is built into our credo and guiding principles. We strive to find ways to make decisions so that we are good corporate citizens in the community and contribute positively to our community.
Rally the Team
As you know, there are plenty of giving opportunities year-round, but many are missed – not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of organization. Once they understand that their success doesn’t exist in a vacuum, they will be more likely to develop and implement systems where they can take ownership of and accomplish company philanthropic goals. In this same vein, it is also imperative to lead by example and demonstrate that creating a culture of ongoing giving is not simply about feeling good inside, but about advancing their community’s social, economic, and/or political position.
As businesses both large and small, we are all responsible for providing the best service we can to not only our clients and customers, but to those who are under-served in the community as well. I imagine most businesses would claim it seeks to provide the best quality service to its customers, so why not take the same business approach to create a professional culture of giving that serves those who are underserved? During this season of giving, commit your company to developing a community service plan for 2015 and see how far the good will goes!