Prop up your philanthropy with the right support

Once again in January, Smart Business and Medical Mutual are recognizing the Central Ohio companies and their employees who invest time and resources into strengthening the relationship between nonprofits and for-profits.

From the bottom up

This year not only did I get to read — and write — about some great organizations, I also interviewed several people at Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Inc., the winner of the Medical Mutual SHARE Award. This award recognizes philanthropy efforts that are spearheaded by the employees, more than executives.

It’s heartwarming to learn about the changes that Budros employees have already seen under a more unified community service plan. So, be sure to check out the story.

But one thing CEO Peggy Ruhlin said really struck me. I asked her if she has been surprised about anything as Budros’ has implemented more formal processes around its philanthropy. She says that she’s been surprised how nearly every job candidate brings up Budros’ community service before the interviewer can.

It can’t be an afterthought

Millennials, and Generation X to a lesser degree, want to work for good companies. They are doing their homework upfront. For many of them, corporate philanthropy and community service are no longer a nice-to-have; they are a key part of why they apply for a job.

One of my co-workers recently told me her daughter, a millennial, is looking for a job. She’s only applying to companies with a social good component. It’s a deal breaker for her.

Anyone can add a philanthropy page to their website, but if job candidates are proactively bringing this up during their interviews, you need to make sure those claims are being consistently fulfilled.

I think more companies can take a page out of Budros’ book. Until something is formalized, measured and laid out, it’s too easy to let it slip into the background.

Corporate philanthropy and community service are a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring talent, so it’s critical that you treat it as such. It has to have the same support system as the other competitive advantages you nurture in your company’s culture.