Over the last decade or so, the business community has seen quite the surge in corporate-giving initiatives. After all, corporate social responsibility (CSR) naturally improves a company’s image. It can also help retain workers and improve employee engagement and loyalty. In fact, you may even save in salary costs as result of your efforts — what with 45 percent of workers saying they’d take a pay cut to work for a company that makes a social impact.
If you’re not a big corporation, which often has an entire team focused on CSR initiatives, you may be wondering what you can do to help others. Finding ways to give back can take a lot of creativity, but the following may help produce some ideas for your company.
Sponsor a Sports Team
You likely know someone with a child on a youth sports team — like one of your employees. Most of the time, the investment of time and money is minimal, and your business will benefit from that friendly publicity that often comes with your logo emblazoned on the jerseys. In other words, youth sports sponsorship is the perfect philanthropic opportunity for small-to-midsize businesses looking to give back to the community.
Sponsor a Local Event
Want to connect directly with your audience, while building good will and generating value for a cause? Sponsor an event. But don’t just slap your logo on it; provide in-person support. For example, our Chicago team has volunteered at Meals from the Heart, a Ronald McDonald House Charities program that provides meals for those caring for family with extended hospital stays. Volunteering as a team takes teamwork to whole new level. It’s rewarding, knowing a few hours can make a difference.
Hold a Charity Drive
Limited funds and time shouldn’t keep your company from being charitable. Consider starting a food, clothing, or book drive either in the office or out in the community. You can even make the drive specific to the season. For example, Anton’s Cleaners in Massachusetts holds an annual coat drive through Coats for Kids. Each year, the company collects, cleans, and distributes more than 60,000 coats for both kids and adults.
Donate Your Services
Charitable organizations often operate on a shoestring budget and with a barebones staff, which presents a very unique opportunity for even the smallest of companies to lend a helping hand. Let’s say, for example, you run a small accounting firm. Your team could volunteer their services to not just balance the nonprofit’s ledger but find ways to cut costs for the organization.
Use the Collective Approach
Deep pockets aren’t a necessity when taking on a social mission. Consider partnering with other companies in your community to establish a philanthropic fund. Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, wife of Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, created Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, where investors pool their money to give large, multi-year grants to charitable organizations. In one year alone, SV2 gave nearly $450,000 in grant money to local nonprofits and social enterprises.
Mentor Local Youth
Many businesses are now getting involved in youth mentorship. Part of this has to do with what it can do for a company: increase its visibility and fosters greater engagement among staff. But it also cultivates the skills necessary for tomorrow’s workforce to really succeed. Look for ways your company can use its experience to mentor kids. For example, we have helped youth improve their career skills through mock interviews and resume writing.