It also enabled different sets of employees to interact and deepened relationships when the staff got together outside of the office.
“While we always had a very collaborative culture here, the community service events and volunteerism have strengthened the collegiality and camaraderie,” says CEO Peggy Ruhlin. “There is a tremendous sense of pride evident, and not just during an event.”
In fact, Ruhlin has been surprised at how the firm’s community service has been so attractive to potential employees. She says almost every one of them mentions it during an interview.
Start with what you have
If you want to encourage more philanthropy, start by finding out what people are already involved in and what else they are interested in supporting with a staff survey, Garland says. Then, it can be a matter of focusing.
The Make BRR Better committee uses survey information as a guide. The first community day with LifeCare was a good fit because people wanted to help the hungry and one employee had volunteered for LifeCare for years.
While Dreher says it helps to have the backing of upper management, Ruhlin is grateful the effort came from the employee base.
“I’m not sure our efforts would have been as well received had the ideas come from top management,” she says. “They seem to be perceived as more of a grassroots movement in which everyone can participate and share equally. As a bonus, it has enhanced employee morale and allowed them to see that they can make a difference in how the firm is managed — and that anyone can be a leader here.”
When Ullmer and Garland started formalizing BRR’s philanthropy, they wanted attainable goals. Now with a framework and budget that doesn’t need to be pitched every year, the committee knows what needs to done and who has to be involved when.
“Just getting that first year under our belt was a huge help; getting that experience running these events,” Ullmer says. “We hadn’t ever held any event at our office, much less a charity event.”
For just the second year, it’s running pretty smoothly and the turnout has been tremendous as well, he says.
How to reach: Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Inc., (614) 481-6900 or www.b-r-r.com