Today DKC is attending ExileIsland, a survivor based event in support of Children's Wish Foundation right here in Ottawa. We are proud to support local charities as well as get out with our team and boost our office morale!
While performing charitable work can seem as though it is a completely selfless act, the behavior may actually be good for the health and well-being of those performing the act. Studies have repeatedly shown that doing good deeds for others is good for the soul. In fact, those feeling down and out can benefit from doing something to improve another person’s way of life.
For businesses, charitable giving has an added benefit: it provides networking and marketing opportunities while also increasing the business’s presence in the community. If a business also encourages employees to participate, workplace morale will improve as each person feels as though they are making a difference in the community. By forming a task force that helps organize and track the project, businesses can further boost worker confidence.
Choose the Right Cause
To be most effective, a business must first choose the right cause to support. A business owner may choose to go in a few different directions with this. Many organizations opt to find a charity that is relevant to their company mission statement. A business whose products or services cater primarily to women may choose to participate in the Komen Race for the Cure to support the fight against breast cancer. A business that manufactures children’s toys may opt to participate in or host a toy drive at Christmastime or hold an event to raise money to support a children’s cancer research hospital.
The cause should ideally also be relevant to the community in which the business has a presence. For businesses that have multiple regional offices, each office can host their own event that is important to their respective communities. Some organizations hold events in multiple cities, making it easier for a business owner to find an organization that is both locally relevant and important to its own customer base.
In choosing a charity, businesses can also choose to support an organization that is personally important to business owners or workers. An organization may have an employee who recently lost a relative to breast cancer or a manager may feel especially passionate about a particular cause. This personal connection will lead employees to be more dedicated to the business’s charitable activities, ensuring its success.
Sponsorships = Marketing
In the process of supporting a good cause, a business may also find that it can use charitable activities as a part of its annual marketing efforts. Sponsoring a local little league team or a 5K walk will allow a business to get the word out about its products or services while funneling marketing money into supporting a local cause. Instead of handing that money over to a media outlet or online advertising service, these businesses are able to ensure that money makes a difference in the community while still achieving its marketing goals.
In sponsoring an event, it’s important for all employees to participate in making the event a success. Consider creating T-shirts that include both the business’s name and the title of the event. The merchandise can not only be sold, with proceeds going to the cause, but the day of the event, employees can show up wearing the shirts to further promote the business’s participation.
If your charity work requires workers to give up a Saturday or Sunday, be sure you make it voluntary. You may also consider rewarding employees who participate with a free product or an extra afternoon off to make sure you have a substantial presence at the event. Participants may also receive a free T-shirt or other merchandise publicizing the event for their efforts. This ensures long after the event, as your workers travel around town, your business is still receiving publicity.
Instead of working together as a group to support a specific organization, some businesses have begun offering workers days off that they can spend volunteering with a charity they choose. Earlier this year, The Washington Post revealed that several companies have found this type of perk helps them retain workers by letting them become involved in the community without giving up a day off. This route also spreads workers around across various charitable organizations, providing a degree of publicity a company wouldn’t have received by focusing on only one charity.
One way businesses can use charitable support to its networking advantage is by encouraging other businesses in the area to participate. By requesting donations from local businesses nearby, an SMB can work with local law firms, retailers, medical professionals, and more in a way that may lead them to work together more in the future.
Businesses should also work directly with the local chamber of commerce to promote charitable work. Often the local chamber is able to help get the word out about the event, as well as provide resources a businesses might not otherwise have had. The local tourism agency may be able to put information on its upcoming events or news page to further get the word out.
Taking Collections Employees don’t even have to leave the office to give back to the community. Some businesses have found that taking up a collection to donate to a local cause can be as effective and morale-boosting as volunteering. Businesses may choose to sponsor a family at Christmastime or regularly give to a local women’s shelter. Some businesses hold charitable giving campaigns year-round where a specified amount is directed to be removed from each paycheck and contributed to an employee’s favorite charity.
Canned food drives are also an easy way to encourage employees to give. Workers can easily clear canned food from pantries and cabinets and dropped in a box. The box can then be taken to a local food bank, which will ensure the food is given to families who need it.
Through charitable giving, a business can increase its local visibility while also improving employee morale. By involving employees in the process, businesses can also increase worker retention, which can save thousands of dollars each year. Local charitable organizations will likely be more than happy to work with any small business interested in sponsoring an event or setting up a regular payroll deduction program for its workers.