Contrary to popular belief, corporate philanthropy is much more than company executives cutting big checks to deserving charities. There is a new breed of giving that makes philanthropy a strategic, integrated part of corporate culture and identity.
The key is remembering the big picture. One of the principles of Odyssey Teams is inspiring employees to remember the “why” of their work.
In the daily shuffle of the 9-to-5 grind, workers may end up feeling lost in a sea of co-workers. Tying a task to a larger vision, however, can help employees see themselves as an integral part of the company’s ultimate success. Furthermore, evidence of the business’ success empowers employees to see their talents and skills as necessary to the overall goal.
Here are some ways your company can inspire employees to remember the why of their work and launch a philanthropy program that makes a difference, both in your community and your company:
Model big givers on a smaller scale. Take a look at companies known for their customer service programs. Patagonia and One Percent for the Planet or McDonald’s and the Ronald McDonald House are great examples of brands whose reputation for philanthropy supercedes their key product or service. Think about how you can create a smaller CSR strategy for your team.
Start where you are. Even if you don’t have an existing corporate philanthropy program, start by writing how your business seeks to improve the world with its products or services. This will help guide your overall strategy.
Find aligning charities. There are hundreds of deserving organizations. Narrow your choices to charities within the community where your business is headquartered and charities that have ties to your industry.
Give away your products. There is no more direct a tie between your company and your philanthropy than donating your products or services. If you are a computer company, give away computers to a local school. If you are a shoe company, donate shoes to low-income families.
Volunteer. Get your employees involved by encouraging them to volunteer weekly in their local community. Volunteering is incredibly rewarding and employees become automatic ambassadors of your brand.
Help a family or individual. Charity can easily be diminished to simply handing over money. Personalize your team’s philanthropy by picking a worthy recipient for your employees to support. Find a local family that needs help and clean up their yard, pay their rent, buy a used car for them or help them find a job.
Practice daily charity. Charity is an act, but it comes from an attitude of giving. Be lovely to each other every day. See charity as an opportunity that is always just around the corner.