This Workplace Culture article was originally published in Smart Business.
As your company grows, are your philanthropy initiatives growing along with it? I have this mindset — the more money you make, the more you give.
What’s worked well for us, and what more companies are replicating, is to help organizations, not just financially but by doing the work. That’s the incredible thing about philanthropy — it’s a win, win, win for organizations that get help within the community, for the company and for its employees. It sets a good example for kids, too.
Whether you select one organization to help veterans, children, or animals — whoever is the recipient — or many, this deep connectivity can boost meaningful relationships among each other, the company and the community. We support the well-being of children and families in Northeast Ohio through direct giving, community involvement and partnerships with like-minded organizations, but other companies may choose to direct their giving elsewhere.
Here are some ways to incorporate consistent philanthropy so it becomes an essential core of your company’s culture and a quintessential part of doing business.
Inclusion is important. Whether you send a survey to all employees asking which organizations to support, or ask them to designate one nonprofit that the company will donate to on their behalf, it’s important to ask and listen.
For Giving Tuesday initiative, we donated $1,000 to every employee’s nonprofit of choice. When companies donate on behalf of their employees, they’ll see that their voices being are heard and their chosen organizations being supported, and your leaders will have the opportunity to learn more about these nonprofits for future support.
Make it part of your DNA
When we launched our companies, we also started a company for philanthropy — we take it seriously and treat giving like any one of our other businesses.
The same business skills required of building a business and growing it can be applied to philanthropy. Your leaders may want to treat it like a separate entity and hire a designated experienced point of contact, such as a vice president of charitable giving and event operations, to run the operation. A strong internal resource whose entire job centers around giving shows your employees you have a serious commitment to philanthropy.
Go all in
People often ask, “How do you do this?” It’s easy to write a check, but I recommend going all in by doing the work and giving responsibly. Research the nonprofits you want to support to see if donated funds actually go to the cause. Whether you implement an application process or another vetting process, you’ll discover the importance of giving responsibly.
Doing the work is important and volunteering gets contagious — it becomes part of employee morale. You may want to designate time during lunch, or employees may gather informally after work, so they can get involved while keeping it separate from work hours. Getting employees involved boosts camaraderie and teamwork.
Part of an employee’s pride for their employer is linked to philanthropic endeavors. The commitment to community is a good lesson in life, and it feels good to be part of — it makes leaders feel good to give, and it makes employees feel good to be a part of it.
Matt Kaulig is executive chairman of Kaulig Cos. Ltd.
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