“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
With the holiday season on the horizon, there is no better time than now for you to get into the spirit of giving. Building a culture of giving within your organization is an effective way to impact lives beyond office walls while simultaneously enriching the lives of your own employees. Through charitable giving and philanthropic endeavors, we can all do our part to make a difference for the greater good of society by helping those in less fortunate situations. And by doing so, companies can create a unified culture that promotes inclusiveness, selflessness and positive workplace environments.
Consider charity and philanthropy as the two foundational pillars of the spirit of giving. But we know there are differences between them despite both seeking to achieve the same outcome of making the world a better place. Charity tends to be an empathetic response to a societal need or crisis, such as Hurricane Relief efforts or Breast Cancer Awareness. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is rooted in a long-term strategic focus on improving systemic issues. For example, companies have established ongoing partnerships with nonprofits like the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to help put a stop to hunger and food insecurity in low-income neighborhoods within Southwestern Pennsylvania.
We can all give back in our own way through monetary donations, volunteer work, or using our own knowledge and life experiences to provide guidance. Every opportunity to help others is unique in its own way.
Use these strategies to incorporate a culture of giving within your own organization.
Get Everyone on Board
Encouraging an appreciation for giving is a great way for management to rally their employees around contributing to charitable and philanthropic efforts. First off, the spirit of giving should be from the top-down. If company leaders aren’t passionate about it, then neither will their employees. And for employees to be further inclined to give, they should have a voice in the causes they are impacting. There are certain causes – like cancer awareness or addiction prevention – that hit close to home for some. Making it personal can help increase fulfillment and create strong bonds within your organization.
Make it Easy
As management, your role requires providing employees with the means to give. Sometimes, busy schedules and hectic lives outside of work can prohibit the amount of time people have to participate in philanthropic efforts. Consider offering monthly paid time off where employees can volunteer at local charities or a rewards system for those who donate a percentage from each paycheck to a company initiative.
Your philanthropic/charity efforts should be highly encouraged, but not mandatory. Forcing employees to donate money or volunteer can add negative pressure damaging the vibe in your workplace. After all, if your employees see others rallying around a good cause, they will likely follow suit on their own.
Establish Organized Programs
Your giving strategy should be organized in order to maximize its potential. A way management can ensure organization is by establishing a function to lead its philanthropic programs. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to stay on track and make progress toward reaching established goals. Keep your employees updated on the progress, and even incorporate some friendly competition as a motivational tactic.
Although the holiday season promotes the spirit of giving, your programs should not solely revolve around the last three months of the year. Instead, create and maintain initiatives that are ongoing year-round.
Hire the Givers
One of the best qualities of a potential new hire is someone who strives to give back. Those passionate about helping others are high-character individuals who tend to prioritize being a team player, work hard, and contribute to an overall healthy workplace atmosphere. During the interview process, inquire about a candidate’s views on helping others and weigh past volunteer work just as you would assess past experience.
When we live our lives in the spirit of giving, we are making a conscious effort to leave a positive footprint on the world in which we live. And in turn, your company will be viewed a better place to work because of it. I wish you and your families a healthy and happy Thanksgiving full of great food, great laughs and lasting memories!