It seems that today everyone’s mission is to do good or to be good. This notion is proven by the fact that Americans are giving more to charities than ever before. People are also looking for employers who share their desire to give, better known as Corporate Social Responsibility.
What does it mean to give back and how is it done well?
It is great to have an altruistic component to your mission statement, but unless your company is not for profit entity, you need to have a business goal — being profitable, sustainability, and growing your company. These two seemingly diverse missions are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to have a social mission be in alignment with your business mission. Make sure your social mission supports your brand and identity as a company.
By having a profitable and growing company you can do good, both personally and professionally. Those around you: your employees, customers, and even your advisors can do good also. It can happen in a variety of ways: money, time and/or resources.
You personally can be philanthropic. By being successful in your business, you can choose to make charitable gifts, whether it be on behalf of yourself or your company. If you have created a solid team, feel free to take time away from the desk and give of your time to those in need. Keep in mind, you must be authentic in your actions and lead by example.
You, as CEO, can set up a company giving program. In order to truly be impactful, you need to develop and implement a giving strategy. The key is to empower your employees while staying true to your company’s mission. Your company can match employee contributions, give employees time off to volunteer, or even adopt a charity. More importantly, you can hire and create a culture of “do gooders”. If your company has the right culture, you will attract like-minded people and ultimately create a community of people who have passion and philanthropy as part of their mindset. Depending on your product or service, your company’s worth can be more valuable than donating money alone. It could be as simple as giving away samples of your product or providing advice to others who do not have the same depth of experience as you and your team.
To optimize engagement from the team, get them involved early. It may benefit you to assemble a committee, including team members from all levels and areas of the organization. Listen to what they are passionate about and how they want to give back. Identify causes that resonate with your employees and align with your mission and your brand. Create guidelines for giving. Align your code of conduct with how you want your employees to be engaged and how your customers and advisors can be involved. Giving may be more meaningful if there is a connection to you or your employees. Whether it be by sitting on the board or volunteering, it is important to show personal interest and commitment. Setting a baseline, like active engagement, and creating an all-in workforce will have positive results for the charity, the company, and the employee.
Try to make it as easy as possible for your employees to be impactful. Have the infrastructure in place to support their needs. Do the research on the chosen charities to make sure they are legitimate and will be well received by your employees.
Doing good can never be bad as long as it is done from the heart with some thoughtfulness as to who is giving and who is receiving.