Many companies have programs where they match the charitable giving of their employees. While some think that companies do this simply for the tax benefits, many business owners actually believe that their company’s charitable giving is good for their business.
Here are some examples of how charitable giving helped the benefactors, not just the recipients, to business succeed:
1. Learned Affordability
Judd Schoenholtz, CEO, Open Listings related as follows: “The mission of Open Listings is to make homeownership more affordable. Our service makes this possible by vastly reducing the real estate fees incurred when buying a home through a 50% commission refund. To date we’ve saved California homebuyers nearly $5 million dollars.
As our company and team has grown, we’ve also begun to support local organizations working on affordability by donating resources and energy to groups that share our mission. One example is Abundant Housing LA , an organization “committed to advocating for more housing… lower rents and a more sustainable and prosperous region, where everyone has more choices of where to live and how to pursue their dreams.” By supporting Abundant Housing LA and other organizations like them, we’re not only promoting a worthy, socially-responsible cause, we’re also increasing housing supply in our largest market. More housing means more options, lower prices and less competition for our homebuyers. It also leads to more transactions and happier customers — two key KPIs for our business. For Open Listings, support for organizations that align with our mission has been a win-win”.
2. It Improved Our Applicant Pool
When applying for a job, a major concern people have — besides the potential paycheck and benefits — is a company’s values and culture. One way applicants can take a peek into the culture of a company is through the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and charitable giving.
Paul Thatcher, VP of Human Resources at Jive Communications said, “Over the years, we have found that our employees feel respected and valued when they can contribute in meaningful ways. As we’ve increased our charitable efforts, we’ve not only seen an improvement in our employees’ happiness, but a significant increase in the number of qualified, enthusiastic job candidates.”
Thatcher went on to say that several of applicants — even after a simple Google search about the company — were doubly excited and hopeful that they’d get a job at Jive. And as any successful company knows, you can’t succeed without motivated, happy people on your team.
3. A Very Effective Marketing Tool
Neutral Adam Landriault tells how “Charitable giving can act as a very effective marketing tool for businesses who are looking to build their reputation and gain market share. When a company sponsors or donates to an event that is in line with their vision, it can have a very positive impact on their networking and brand awareness.
One of my clients who opened a gym last year struggled to gain any traction in the industry until they decided to sponsor a local event aimed at fitness and healthy lifestyle. The sponsorship was no more than a nominal fee to have their signs displayed and a donation of some personal training sessions and memberships which were auctioned off.
This generated many people inquiring about the business which has since grown to a point where they are hiring more staff and planning a second location by next year.”
4. The Gift of Giving Back
“Giving back — on a local, national and global level — is an important part of our corporate culture at MNI Targeted Media. We have several charitable partners, including the American Cancer Society, Save the Children and the Stamford Food Bank, that we support as individuals and as a corporation.
Each one showcases the generous nature of our employees. Every time our team is asked to step up for those in need, including the past two weeks when we collected boxes of essentials to send to Puerto Rico, we truly shine, giving as much as we possibly can.
Our charitable events bring together cross-department committees — co-workers who might not work together on other projects — to work toward a common goal. They foster strong working relationships and friendships, strengthening our maverick spirit.
And the good — and goodwill — extends beyond our office. For our annual participation in the ACS’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day, we once again relied on our business partners and vendors to contribute items for our fund-raising raffle. Their generosity is a testament to the trusted relationships that are crucial to our business.
Plus, the excited buzz around the office is proof that our team really enjoys coming together to give back — a truly meaningful measure of success.”
— Rob Reif, President, MNI Targeted Media Inc.
5. Expands the Art of Generosity
Arbitrator Syed Mustafa Mahdi says “a socially aware contemporary society has given rise to various philanthropic activities. Generosity is that one attribute which is instilled since the beginning and is gradually becoming widespread. It is wide ranging, from sponsoring a homeless child to charitable giving by a business. Businesses usually aim for it because it benefits them as a whole, internally as well as externally.
Some of such benefits are listed below.
▪ Positive image in the market:
A business will attract a lot of positive comments from the external entities once it becomes charitable. Consequently, a relation of good-will will be built and the community will look forward to maintaining permanent relations with it.
▪ Better networking opportunities:
Being charitable will provide a positive image to a business. This will further help businesses to gain a better clientele and work ahead of their competitors.
▪ Content Employees:
A charitable business develops a sense of pride within its employees which motivates them to work better.
▪ Better Branding:
Due to its contribution towards the community a business will become influential in the community. Hence, bigger and better opportunities will make their way towards it.
▪ More Profits:
Such factors will contribute towards more profit gaining for the business.”
6. Opens Students Eyes to New Career Paths in a Small Town.
“eZanga adopts several local families in need during the holiday season — and covers their basic needs as well as gifts for each of the families — through the Middletown (DE) Action Network. Year-round, eZanga also participates in the Best Buddies of Delaware program, which provides one-to-one friendship and leadership development programs to those with and without disabilities throughout the Appoquinimink School District (our local community).
eZanga may not be a big monetary donor, but we feel that donating our time, our most valuable asset, is far more impactful to the community and for our employees. It gives the students a chance to learn skills to help them seek future employment, and allows our employees the opportunity to work with — and engage with — students not only in our workplace, but within the schools, too. By working one-on-one with students, we not only get to give back, but we open their eyes to careers they may have been unaware of previously within our small town.”
— Rich Kahn, CEO and Co-Founder of eZanga
7. Lending a Helping Hand Can Go a Long Way.
“At Classform, our mission is to drive $1 billion dollars of wasted spend out of public and private education in the US. We do this by helping schools to gain a better idea of their hardware and software inventory providing actionable items to streamline software usage, decommission unnecessary equipment and track to move/add change activity which leads to saved money. This year, we have put $1.3 million dollars back into public education.
During our conversations with school districts across the country, we identify ones that would like to start technology initiatives but may not have the funding today and/or need to prove the benefit of this incorporating this technology such as robotics, programming, tinkering, etc. We provide donations to help get programs started to help assist in this projects. This helps schools to test pilot new technology and helps establish Classform as a leader in STEM technology.
Recently, we provided a small robotics package to one of the largest school districts in the United States because they were interested in testing out the technology but we not ready to make a full commitment. Once they used these robots, they experienced immediate engagement from their students. We went from donating 6 small robots to this school district to them purchasing 600+ robotics kits. It was a big win for the school district because they we able to prove the classroom benefit to their district stakeholders. It was also a big win for Classform as we could provide a proof of concept which ultimately led to a large deal.”
— Tony Sheffler, CTO and Co-Founder of Classform
8. Provides Visibility, Creativity, Flexibility.
Neutral Doyin Ayeni said, “One of the benefits of charitable giving is that a business can increase its local visibility.
A business can give financially but also by donating information or training in its area of expertise. This affords the opportunity of increasing such business’s presence in the community.
While providing visibility for the business in the community, there is also increased networking and marketing opportunities for the business.
Other businesses in the same field or industry can be encouraged to participate in the the charitable endeavor and this can in return lead to a collaboration among such businesses to make a difference in the community.”
9. Lifting Others is a Win/Win
Marci Nault, Founder of DreamsCo says, “When I set out to start my company, DreamsCo, my first thought was how could I help people to live more playful and adventurous lives where they never stop exploring. My second thought was how could I help small businesses, artists, and performers to grow their audience and customer base because I believe they are the heart of quality living in our communities.
As a published author and having owned a small business I know how hard it is to find marketing dollars in the budget when you’re also trying to cover expenses. Oftentimes being an artist or entrepreneur can be a lonely experience where one feels like they’re fighting an uphill battle. The ability to get funding is almost non-existent except for hard to win grants or getting an SBA loan, which most times aren’t available to artistic endeavors.
When I decided to launch The Dare to Dream Festival I set out to create a year-long program where artists, performers, and business owners without large marketing budgets could come together and utilize my brand in order to build their customer base. By creating a teaching program where they can share a simple class on social media once a month they combine with thirty other teachers who are also bringing their audiences.
By offering this free program it in turn helps me promote my Dare to Dream Festivals where I can feature each teacher for free because I have less marketing expenses. This gives them an even broader chance to personally interact with potential customers.
In turn I get to fulfill my dream of people living life going from one magnificent dream to the next, forgetting about age, and continuing to play for the rest of their lives while helping what I love best about my community: the artists and small businesses.
It’s a win/win all around.”
10. Founded for a Cause
“Giving back is an integral part of BlueRock Energy’s culture and always has been. But BlueRock took giving back to the next level when I was diagnosed with Melanoma — the most serious form of skin cancer — in January 2014. After learning about my diagnosis, I was able to find a tremendous amount of information and inspiration from the Melanoma Research Foundation. With thorough research, high-quality treatment, and a strong community, I was able to overcome the fight against this terrible disease. After being cancer free, I knew it was my turn to give back and help find a cure for Melanoma. Together, with a group of BlueRock employees, we created Save the Skin Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 organization, to raise money for research and increase education and awareness of melanoma and skin cancer. Every summer, the foundation holds a golf tournament and this year, the event raised more than $51,000 for the Melanoma Research Foundation and Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. And now, in just four years, Save the Skin operates on a 100 percent volunteer basis, with all net proceeds going directly to the cause. Since its inception in 2014, Save the Skin Foundation has donated over $142,000.” — BlueRock Energy President & CEO Phil VanHorne
11. Creating for a Cause
Founder of EvaDane Jewelry, Lexie Broytman, has seen the benefits of charitable giving reach beyond her business. In late September of 2017, her grandmother, Eva (whom the company was in-part named for) and close family friend passed days apart from pancreatic cancer. “It was devastating to see firsthand how quickly and severely this illness affected my loved ones. Honestly, it was an eye-opening perspective on life “, noted Broytman. Wanting to contribute to early detection and treatment research, she created a piece of jewelry where proceeds specifically went to help the cause. “My business gave me a means of reaching out to others fighting the same fight. It’s quite humbling to be able to connect to a customer who may be battling cancer themselves, or even part of a support system like I was.” Sales from the jewelry have been significant for EvaDane, drawing a new clientele base to the company. “It was cathartic to design for a cause which hit so close to home”, said Broytman. “The bonus is having people respond and contribute to the growth of the business as a whole.”
12. Tit for Tat
Remi Alli of Brāv Online Conflict Management learned that when you help others, even without the intent of reciprocity, one often receives something back.
“We immediately jumped at the opportunity to help seek resources and promote the Asia-Pacific mediation conference occurring November 11–13th in Da Nang, Vietnam hosted by convener Tom Giglione
We were soonafter asked to keynote — and not one, but two Brāv Ones! Since many world leaders, including President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau will be present for various summits including APEC, we also have the opportunity to meet them as they may present the conference’s peace prize.”
13. Provides the Ability to Use Calmness, Give the Benefit of the Doubt.
Lorraine Segal of Brāv, conflict management coach and teacher, turned interactions with payroll staff around.
“Each paycheck, they only took out a tiny amount for taxes. I went in to see payroll services several times and filled out forms to have more money withheld. Each time ‘Sue’ promised me we were all set, but it wasn’t true. The 3rd time I opened my pay envelope, and it still wasn’t right, I was deeply frustrated and judgmental towards her.
“But, I decided it was in my best interest to use my conflict management skills and give her the benefit of the doubt. Instead of berating her, I was calm and supportive as I talked to her, assuming she had done her job and inviting her, as an ally, to problem solve with me. Her initial defensiveness turned to helpfulness, and together we were able to figure out what was wrong.”
14. Old Adage Reigns True: Begins at Home
Mediator & Founder of Prerna Foundation Jharna Jagtiani tells how, “VEDL, a group company of Vedanta Resources PLC, London is listed on Indian stock exchanges. Till some time back they were grappling with a backlog of non clearances and shut down orders of their mines in India from Ministry of Environment and Forest. To add to their misery, just then Ministry of Corporate affairs notified them that 2% of net profits of all listed companies should be used for charity.
VEDL, made a presentation and showed how they, through their in-house NGO, Vedanta foundation, are helping the villagers and other people dislocated due to mining operations, how they are improving the surrounding environment and also preserving environment by their sustained efforts. This turned the table for them and clearances started following which helped them lifting their business fortunes and today they have all the mines operational with extended lease and all penalties settled. Thus, it can be said — charity begins at home.”
15. Engage your Employees in Corporate Giving
When Art Barter purchased Datron World Communications, Vista, Calif., in 2004, he made the conscious decision to help employees find the true meaning and purpose in their lives, professionally and personally.
Social responsibility was a big part of the overall servant leadership approach that Art instituted at Datron, which designs and manufactures voice and data radio products. One example of this CSR effort is the Datron Charitable Fund, which is supported by 10% of the company’s operating profits each quarter.
What sets this fund apart is that Datron’s 110 employees decide where the money goes. Grant requests come solely from employees. Since its creation in 2005, more than $15 million has been contributed to charities all over the world. This gives employees a direct hand in improving lives through organizations that mean a lot to them.
In a world where more than 50 percent of employees are disengaged, the Datron Charitable Fund gives meaning and purpose to the work they do. Datron has experienced improvement in voluntary turnover, averaging 5 percent over last six years, and trust in leadership has increased 17 percent in the last five years.
As a result, the bottom line also has benefited: From 2005–2011, the company grew from a $10 million company to a $200 million company. — Art Barter CEO, Servant Leadership Institute