Driving positive change
Businesses’ desire to engage in sustainability and philanthropic programs has been growing as organizations see that caring for their communities has major benefits for their company.
Thanks to caring staff members, company resources and reusable giveaways, companies of every size are making their part of the world a better place.
Company community-involvement programs can also have a major impact on an organization’s bottom line—they contribute to higher productivity, increased customer loyalty and an improved public image.
With all this good happening in the business world, you may be thinking about building your own sustainability or philanthropic program. Here are a few tips to get started:
Get employee buy-in
For a sustainability or philanthropic program to succeed, staff participation is essential.
- Get management on board: If CEOs and other managers don’t consider the program a priority, other employees won’t either.
- Choose a champion: Putting a staff member in charge of the program will help ensure it keeps moving forward.
- Create a team: Bringing in staff members from different departments will make it possible for everyone to have a voice in the program.
Choose an approach
Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you set a course of action. Possible approaches include:
Give the gift of time, money, volunteers or other resources to your local, national or international community to provide short-term and long-term assistance where it’s needed most.
Find ways for your company to reduce, reuse and recycle to improve your local community environment. Plus, reducing waste can reduce costs.
For the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, focusing on environmental sustainability helped them solve a problem. “We learned that our recycling was sometimes being considered contaminated with too many plastic bags,” said Campus Sustainability Officer Brad Spanbauer. “So, we knew we needed to come up with a way to eliminate them from our recycling stream as much as possible.”
Get into the green scene with this reusable PET tote.
The university gave students a branded reusable bag to store their recycling. The university also created posters, pamphlets and a video that explained how to properly recycle common items.
“I chose the recycled-plastic bag because it embodied the re-use, recycle aspects of our waste stream mantra,” Spanbauer said.
Once your company has set a course of action, reach out to the people and groups who could benefit from your relationship. When you connect, set up goals and guidelines for your organizations—from determining how many hours team members can volunteer each month to deciding how much financial support you’ll put toward a project or organization.
The Gettys Group, a global design and development firm in Chicago, Illinois, provides a meeting space and support for the Chicago-chapter of the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH): a group that gives scholarships to students in the hospitality industry. The organization also provides networking and educational opportunities to industry members.
Because several members of NEWH work at The Gettys Group, the company has allowed them to hold their monthly meetings at Gettys’ offices to support their employees and the organization. “It’s incredibly beneficial to have the place we work support our personal efforts to do good outside the office,” said Anne Hiter, director of The Gettys Group’s populate procurement group and current president of the Chicago-chapter NEWH.
NEWH in Chicago holds three fundraisers every year, including a recent summer social fundraiser where it handed out sunglasses as a memorable reusable giveaway.
Due to its long-time support of the organization, The Gettys Group allows members to promote the events to the entire company and encourage staff to donate or get involved. “Since many of our team members are also members of NEWH, we’re able to share our experience and communicate the tangible impact that their support has on the people we are trying to help—in our case its supporting education and helping young people further their careers,” Hiter said.
Tell your story
Decide whether you’ll share your efforts internally or with all your audiences. Recognizing your employees for their hard work can boost both engagement and participation in future opportunities.
Sharing your sustainability or philanthropic story externally can make you more attractive to potential employees—nine out of ten millennials have stated they would take a pay cut to work at a company that matches their values. It’s also a draw for customers, with 87% of consumers stating they would purchase a service or product based on a company’s social advocacy.
Keep working at it
Once your program has started—don’t stop! Allow the program to grow and adapt as new sustainability and philanthropic opportunities come to light.
Better community, better company
Company community involvement programs help make your slice of the world a better place. Kick off your program with these steps and reusable giveaways to build a stronger organization.
Promote your brand with reusable promotional items everyone will love.
Note: The bags for UW-Oshkosh’s recycling program were donated by 4imprint.
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