It’s Giving Tuesday, the unofficial kickoff of our national season of giving – time for giving back, giving thanks, and reflecting. Amid the craziness of the holidays, I finally found a few minutes to embrace the spirit of the season and look back on 2016. Let me tell you, it was a pretty incredible year!
A standout moment for me was when we launched the Businessolver Foundation earlier this year. For a workplace like Businessolver that is committed to creating an environment of support and collaboration, establishing the Foundation was a no-brainer. It’s been my honor and labor of love to lead the Foundation and help organize my colleagues to spend their time and talents investing in our communities through causes we passionately care about.
I have countless stories about how engaged and inspired the Foundation work has been to Businessolver. But for those of you who like the hard data, I have plenty of that too! Research by Deloitte shows that Millennials (the largest demographic in the American workforce) who participate in company volunteer activities are twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive, (56 percent versus 28 percent), and are more likely to feel loyalty toward their company (52 percent versus 33 percent).
On this day in particular, and with the fresh start of a new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to think about incorporating volunteerism and philanthropy into your workplace culture. Not sure how to start? Here are three tips we learned this year from the Businessolver Foundation.
Make it meaningful
Find out what matters to your employees and use that to guide the direction of your philanthropy efforts. When people feel personally connected to a cause, they’re more likely to invest their time and resources in supporting it. For example, if many of your employees are pet owners and animal lovers, consider setting up volunteer opportunities at a local animal shelter.
At Businessolver, we launched a partnership with RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) in May, which included a $10,000 donation in memoriam of Businessolver employee Chris Charron. The partnership provides heart checks to RAGBRAI riders throughout the week-long ride and culminates with a special evening tribute and toast. This allows our team to honor one of our own and support a worthy cause that was important to him. Next year, we’re excited to expand the RAGBRAI partnership to drive more heart health education and screen for heart healthy checks, raising our sponsorship level to $20,000, in addition to $15,000 for the American Heart Association.
Don’t ignore business strengths and values
Think about what matters to your organization from a business perspective, and what types of skills employees bring to their jobs that could be applied to volunteer efforts. If you work for a financial services company, for example, work with employees to set up a complimentary financial literacy workshop at the community center.
For example, Businessolver started a scholarship fund for our employees’ dependents. We were delighted to award eight high-school seniors with scholarship funds to put towards tuition. In addition, the Foundation adopted a local school to promote financial literacy through a partnership with Junior Achievement, hosted and sponsored an Adopt a School event for JA, and in 2017, we’ll be a new tenant in JA BizTown, a 10,000 square-foot, life-like city designed to show young people the importance of workplace performance and financial decisions in an authentic economy. These initiatives closely align with our business values to uphold the importance of not only education but also reducing student debt and improving overall financial wellness. We can’t wait to see these students blossom in the coming years.
Make it easy
With packed professional and personal calendars, it can be a challenge to add more to the schedule. Find ways to make it easy for employees to get involved no matter how busy they might be.
At Businessolver, we distributed Random Acts of Kindness Kits to clients and employees throughout February. From buying groceries for people in line at the grocery store, pumping and paying for a stranger’s gas, to simply bringing in treats for coworkers, this program encouraged the idea that good deeds can make a difference without a ton of time and effort! The results were amazing and the kindness continued long after #BusinessolverRAK month ended.
We invite you to join us in making philanthropy a part of your workplace culture – there’s no better time to start than now! Here are four organizations that the Foundation partners with that could use your company’s support as well – on Giving Tuesday and every day: