Create a Culture of Philanthropy
By Adaiah Ludy
It’s November, a time of thanks, sharing and giving back. There are so many to give back but it can also feel overwhelming, particularly during this time of year.
Organizational philanthropy can be as simple as donating an hour of consulting services to a local nonprofit or as complex as giving employees forty hours a year to volunteer around the city. Or it might be a medium like our Innovation Fund, a micro-business grant where we will support the innovation of other small businesses. Whatever medium you choose, be sure to center it around these four elements:
It starts at the top: Organizational leaders must spearhead company philanthropy efforts. Employees feel inspired to action by authenticity. It is upper management’s responsibility to identify community initiatives that align with the mission and the work your company does and get the team on board.
Involve everyone in the process: Although it is management’s job to create and execute the strategy, the focus of any philanthropic initiative should be something everyone can get behind. Call a meeting or send a survey to get an understanding of what social needs are priorities for your employees. True engagement starts with a common purpose, so be sure to go after a project the whole team supports.
Collaboration is key: Having employees work side by side develops teamwork and communication skills. Giving employees a time and space to work together, sans titles and deadlines, for the greater good builds company morale and cooperation, especially during particularly stressful seasons. Hands-on volunteerism is a great way to strengthen employee relations and keep the team united.
Consider long term impact: While it is only natural to amp up philanthropy efforts during the holiday season, consider the activities your organization could engage in throughout the year. Aligning yourselves with a sustainable, mission-driven project not only increases impact but also solidifies genuine relationships. Long term projects are also a good way to showcase the values of your organization and improve brand perception in a realm separate from sales and product pitches.
Philanthropy can take on many forms. As the year ends, consider what kind of philanthropic efforts are both reasonable and realistic for your organization to undertake.