During the holidays and special events, we talk a lot about how the joy is in the giving of gifts, not the receiving. It’s a lesson we teach our children, include in greeting cards, and hold as a cultural value. Companies can live out this same principle by giving back through corporate philanthropy programs.
In the same way that giving gifts is good for our personal wellbeing, corporate giving is good for business. Companies that engage in giving programs reap a wide variety of benefits leading to greater employee engagement, improved business performance, and stronger relationships with their clients and customers. Here are six ways that giving back is good for business.
1. Employees Will Feel Good about Their Company
People want to feel good about the places they work. Not feeling connected to a job or feeling ambivalent about an employer means employees invest less of themselves in their work. Like every other manager, you know the quality of your employees’ work is key to your success as a company.
Companies that focus on giving back to the community can forge stronger emotional connections with their employees and help them to feel good about where they work and for whom. Philanthropy and corporate giving campaigns show employees that you care about more than just the bottom line.
2. Employees Can Learn New Skills
Corporate giving efforts present the perfect opportunity for employees to learn new skills. According to research from the OHSU Brain Institute, trying new things, like volunteering in a new capacity, is good for our brains, helping forge new pathways that can actually help improve brain function. This is a benefit that can directly improve employee job performance as well.
Some of the new things employees can learn while giving back include valuable skills such as making new social and business connections, organizing and managing resources or people, or building awareness for a cause through a more effective use of marketing and social media channels. Employees who put these skills to work while volunteering will naturally find ways to incorporate them into their daily work as well.
3. Your Company Will Gain New Perspectives
Giving back will help your company develop a sense of corporate empathy, or recognizing how others feel. Empathy is one of the three principles that Steve Jobs used to drive Apple’s business success, and it can work just as effectively for your business too. Giving and volunteering help a company see the world through the community’s perspective, which strengthens the understanding of how the company fits into that community.
By looking at the world through a different lens and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can gain valuable insight into how your products or services affect others, the issues that matter most to your customers, and how you can play a role in strengthening your community.
4. Your Business Will Connect with the Community
Giving back allows your business to connect with the community around you. Companies that close their doors to the public never become a true part of the community in which their employees and customers make their lives. For a business to reap the benefits of a strong community, there needs to be a true connection.
With satisfying speed, corporate giving puts a face to a corporation by connecting the community with the employees and executives who may have appeared anonymous before. As a member of the community, your company is more likely to find avenues for cooperation and collaboration with other local businesses or community organizations, both of which are good for business.
5. Philanthropy Solidifies Company Values
Outside of their corporate mission, all institutions should nurture a core set of values. The values inform the mission, guide decisions, and help employees and community members connect emotionally with your company.
Targeted giving and corporate philanthropy programs can help a company solidify its values by giving back to organizations that match those values. Ongoing giving not only strengthens these values as your involvement grows, it can eventually become a part of your daily operations.
6. Giving Back Is Fun!
New skills, community engagement, and a new perspective certainly can help a business succeed, making giving back worth the effort. It is also important to remember that giving back is a lot of fun, too. Companies that volunteer or donate to the community rarely have any regrets about it, and once they start, they generally find they enjoy it and only want to give more.
It’s fun to get an employee team together for a charity walk or run, or to organize a community food drive capped off with a celebration. It’s also fun to collect and deliver toys and other goods for children and schools in need, or to spend some time outdoors enjoying the weather and participating in a community cleanup program. When we have fun at work, we like work more, and liking work more is definitely good for business.