Corporate philanthropy -- whether it's volunteering in the community, supporting causes dear to you or making donations to charitable causes -- can have major benefits for a company. By developing and fostering a culture of "giving back," businesses can not only build a strong sense of community, but they can also become more attractive for younger generations of employees who are very keen on seeing their organizations involved in charitable work.
To help inspire your company toward change, these seven entrepreneurs share their experience building a culture of corporate philanthropy and its many benefits for the growth and success of a business.
Offer volunteer time off.
A great way companies can support their employees to invest time in philanthropic efforts is by offering them volunteer time off (VTO), says Stephen Beach, CEO of Craft Impact Marketing.
"We have a VTO policy called 'Craft Impact Cares,' which shows employees and the community that we value social responsibility, and encourages employees to dedicate time to charitable efforts," Beach explains. This level of social responsibility can also help attract and retain talent.
Create team-building volunteering projects.
"We incorporate team building with social good by having our team do a volunteer job together, such as working on building a house or helping a school out," says Angela Ruth, customer experience rep with Calendar.
According to Ruth, turning volunteering projects into team-building opportunities will not only enable the organization to do something good for others, reflecting its culture, but also will bring team members closer together. "Plus, the local community is now familiar with our brand and what we stand for."
Endorse ethical labor practices.
True corporate philanthropy should actually start from within by endorsing ethical labor practices, thinks MonsterInsights co-founder Chris Christoff.
"It's essential to adopt fair pay for the amount of work employees put in," Christoff underlines. Companies can then encourage followers on social media and other industry leaders to do the same by creating and hosting events surrounding fair labor for other companies, he adds.
Cover employee donations.
Another effective way to build a culture of giving is by covering your employees' donations, says keynote speaker Brittany Hodak: "In addition to annual bonuses, set aside a pool for each employee to dedicate to a charity of his or her choice."
Companies that do this can set reasonable guidelines regarding donation values, but should let the employees lead the action. "This allows your company to do good in a way that both empowers and engages your employees. Allocate at least $1,000 giving per employee and invite employees to share with the team why their chosen charity is personally meaningful," Hodak advises.
Promote donation of electronics and clothes.
"Sure, you can encourage your employees to donate money to a charity, but something that mostly everyone can get involved in is the donation of goods," SeedProd LLC founder John Turner explains.
This type of donation may set others up for success in ways that financial donations may not. "For instance, if you have electronics and business clothes you no longer use, you can donate those to organizations that will give them to people who need them, instead of just throwing them away," Turner adds.
Offer pro bono services.
Money and goods aside, businesses can also develop their philanthropy culture by offering some of their services free of charge, ideally to organizations involved in charity work.
"As a service provider business, we offer pro bono digital marketing or PR services to one organization every year -- usually a nonprofit that our entire company is passionate about," explains Kristin Kimberly Marquet, founder of Fem Founder. "It's a great way to build awareness for a cause we all care about."
Partner with a charity.
For ongoing opportunities to become involved in charitable actions, companies could partner with a dedicated organization, according to Shu Saito, CEO of Godai Soaps. Such a partnership would be a perfect illustration of a business's commitment to giving back to the community.
"In one of my businesses, we partnered with Water.org, a charity that empowers people to gain access to clean water and sanitation. For each product we sell, a certain amount of our proceeds goes to this important charity," Saito explains. "The charity organization is an integral part of our business model and adds a new level of meaning to our products and our efforts."