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Date Added: February 2007Caring organizations encourage it. Savvy people demand it. Emotionally engaged people do it. There should be an expectation in your organization.
Community giving – the golden egg of reputation management – is more than a simple return on investment. If delivered effectively, it reflects the deepest held values of an organization. In contrast to business hours devoted strictly to the bottom line, charitable giving focuses on the people who ultimately determine the quality of life in a community. In kind, a healthy community gives way to economic development.
The good business reason for your organization to be involved in community giving is simple – it affects corporate culture positively. Research shows people who understand the values of their organization become more emotionally engaged, and emotionally engaged people are more productive. Since productive people serve and retain customers better, everyone benefits from this cultural asset. Here’s how it can work for your organization:
Get started. In your strategic plan, create at least one goal that includes measurable results for community giving. The goal is to affect the recipient, as well as your customers and employees. Search for opportunities that are aligned with values important to your organization.
Get creative. One local organization reinforces its organizational value of cultural diversity by volunteering at schools on Martin Luther King Day. Employees at Arketype, an advertising and creative design firm, read books to students about respect, diversity, tolerance and peace. Employees also spend time at the St. Vincent de Paul Society as a reinvestment in the community that helped build and strengthen their organization.
Stay creative. Find ways to differentiate your contribution. One approach is donating your product or service. Chances are someone may need and appreciate it. If you can’t give away what you sell, offer your time by serving on committees such as your local Chamber of Commerce, New North, or several others.
Encourage colleagues. Don’t take advice from people who tell you to do something they do not. As a business owner, I believe community involvement is important and take it seriously. Our people have donated services and expertise to organizations such as N.E.W. Curative, the Howard-Suamico School District, Rotary Club of Green Bay, Gardens of the Fox Cities and others. We look to create opportunities for our organization and team members to partner with non profit organizations, specifically those with aligned values.
Sound giving strategies balance an organization’s goals by cultivating its important relationships with the surrounding community. With the added value of increased productivity through emotionally engaged people, charitable giving makes good business sense. Maintaining success means remembering the people, organizations and community that originally helped cultivate the current success of your organization.