Twelve million Canadians “gave back” to others through volunteer work last year, and many of their efforts were encouraged and sponsored by their workplaces.
In fact, according to an Imagine Canada study, 76% of all the country’s businesses do some kind of charity work, and 97 percent of the larger firms do.
Many of these projects such as Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart charity to support children in need to get involved in organized sports and physical activities and CIBC’s annual Run for the Cure for cancer are well known.
For the smaller companies who support local sports teams, give to local hospitals and animal shelters, and encourage employees to support their local food banks, the stories don’t make headlines. But that doesn’t make them any less important.
People see what you are doing and it is impressive. And the people who receive your generousity tell others about it and the difference that you make to their organization.
The business case for giving back
Besides the feel good reasons for giving, there is a strong business case to be made that giving back actually propels your company forward.
The biggest in-house payoff is often how it brings your team together, engages them, heightens their morale, and creates a culture of giving.
Once the spirit of generousity and kindness is ignited, it is rare that it is moved in only one direction. People who work together for a good cause are much more inclined to work together for the corporate cause as well.
And in these days of disengagement, that’s worth it’s weight in gold alone.
When your company teams up with another, it also gives your employees some great networking and marketing opportunities. The informal settings and the common goal bring people together and encourage participation and respect.
Accomplishing volunteer goals is a morale booster
Everyone would like to think that the work they do matters, and that is particularly important to millennials.
By bringing your team together and encouraging them to succeed in reaching their volunteer goals, the spin-off is their increased confidence in closing corporate projects.
It reminds your team as well that your company cares about something other than its bottom line, and that is gratifying to the many people who want to commit to bigger picture goals.
Science supports the theory that although your team wants to make a living, they are happier when they are also making a life by contributing to others.
A study conducted by Professor Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School and published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, determined that regardless of income, people who spent money on others were decidedly happier than those who only spent money on themselves.
The spirit of generousity and kindness is a tremendous motivator.
Not to diminish the good feeling that giving back gives to your company, but it is worth mentioning that there are also tax breaks that can be rewarding if your company decides to match employee contributions.
You will need receipts, of course, but there is no sense in ignoring this added factor and benefiting from it.
How to select good ways of giving back
It could be argued that all generousity is good, but as with all business decisions, it pays to be judicious about your selection about which charity you will be involved with for maximum effect.
Here are some guidelines to help you make the right choices:
The charity you support should be in sync with your core values and mission. If you operate an accounting or bookkeeping firm that provides tax services, for example, you could offer a set donation for every tax return done to support the local animal shelter. That way you are subtly letting people know you offer this service, while simultaneously giving back to a popular charity.
The cause should have a presence in the community you operate. Your employees are more apt to identify with a cause that they can see in operation. Support the local food drive, put a float in the local Santa Claus Parade, or join the local Legs for Literacy race.
If you participate as a team, get the t-shirts and paraphernalia that clearly identify your company. If you are sponsoring your own team in a cancer run or a walk for diabetes or similar local event, make sure that you air your brand by ensuring your team wears t-shirts with your name and logo on them.
Pick a project that touches the hearts of your team. If you lost a team member to a disease like cancer or as the result of a drunk driver or to suicide, you can help your team mourn and come together stronger afterwards by participating in some kind of memorial activity for them. A colleague lost to cancer is remembered when you support the CIBC Run for the Cure, for example.
Remember that freedom of choice is attractive to. If you want to give back to your community but you aren’t sure how to do it, offer your team members a day off that they can spend volunteering at the charity of their choice. Many people love the autonomy that this gesture provides and the community benefits from a variety of different initiatives. In many ways, you can actually spread word of your commitment to supporting the community more effectively this way since you touch more organizations.
As an added note we are very proud announce that in January 2020 we will be launching our own “Kninja Foundation”. It’s mission will be “Empowered Women, Empowering Women” and you can learn more about it here.
Thank you for reading this post. Until the next time. Take care.
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