Community Involvement: Giving Back Boosts Morale
We know that it sometimes feels like you don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the things you absolutely have to do. Taking care of your business, your employees, your clients…not to mention, getting to your son’s football game or even trying to coach your daughter’s soccer team. Then you get hit with multiple organizations in our community needing support; it can literally feel like an email or direct mail piece comes in every day about sponsorships for charity events. You are trying to manage the requests for serving on committees and boards. It’s overwhelming. However, it’s definitely important to figure out a way for your company to give back. Your employees also need to know that they are encouraged and supported to be involved in the community. Here’s why:
- Boosts energy in your company culture. If employees feel like they are encouraged to volunteer, even during the workday, that helps them feel like they are part of something special. Volunteering for an event altogether as a company is a great way to connect and bond while doing something that makes an impact on the community. After an event like that, we bet you’ll notice more positive energy around the company—people will come back refreshed and ready to work hard for a company that is supportive and encouraging.
- When you volunteer or sponsor/attend charity events for organizations in the community, chances are you and your staff are going to meet people who may be interested in what you do. And, vice versa, you can meet people who may be of help to you as you move your company forward. Serving on boards and committees often leads to building relationships that are meaningful and potentially helpful for your personal and professional growth.
- Also, having your employees serve on boards and committees helps them to gain leadership skills. That’s always a benefit, as you want strong go-getters in your company! In the same way, you can become a mentor for younger professionals when you actively serve on boards. You can show by example.
Yes, we know there are only so many hours in the day, week, year. It may be difficult to figure out how to fit in volunteer efforts with the work day. Here’s how:
- Create a Volunteer Plan for your company. Offer a number of hours to each employee that can be used on one day or throughout the year for volunteer efforts. For example, if you say that each employee has 16 paid hours per year to do volunteer activities, your staff will feel motivated to find a cause to support. You can create a form that would be filled out by the organization to sign off on the hours for your employees, and they can ask for time off in advance, just like they would for vacation. You can even make it a competition: whoever gets to their 16 hours first wins a prize!
- If this first idea does not work, then set aside 2 days per year that all of you do a volunteer activity together. You can ask area agencies where you could be of most help. It may even be through your City to pick up litter in particular areas of your community, or perhaps it is helping at your food bank to pass out food. There are opportunities everywhere!
It’s also important to make sure you let the public know that you are giving back to the community across the company, that it’s part of your mission. Here’s why:
- Not that it is an ulterior motive, but it’s good marketing, period. People like businesses who are invested in making the community stronger. You may gain and retain clients because of your volunteer and charitable efforts. You can post your good work on social media and in your quarterly newsletter for clients, which will usually get more attention from the viewer than most anything else.
- Your good work encourages others to do the same. We want our local businesses and corporations to give back, right? Be a role model by showing that you make giving back a priority.