Two ways to make charitable contributions benefit your business over a lifetime

Two ways to make charitab…

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Though this statement was spoken in 1957, it still holds immense truth today for both individuals and businesses.

While determining your passions as an individual is a crucial step down the road toward finding purpose and long-term fulfillment, the same can be said about making charitable contributions as a business.

Now more than ever, consumers and employees want to see businesses align with and advocate for causes they care deeply about. According to America’s Charities Snapshot Employee Donor Research, approximately six out of every ten workplace donors surveyed stated that they value working for organizations that support giving and volunteering.

Aligning your business with a cause you and your employees are passionate about and that ties into the organization’s core values can provide stakeholders with a sense of pride in their workplace and further integrate the organization’s core brand values within the organization.

There are several things to reflect upon as you consider how to give efficiently and benefit your business over a lifetime.

1. Focus on causes you’re passionate about.

The first step in beginning or strengthening your charitable contributions is to put your resources where your heart is. By focusing on donating time and money to causes you care deeply for, clients and other stakeholders can easily understand the value of these actions, your employees may be more inspired to engage with the causes and your organization’s brand will be more clearly defined by actions and not words alone.

For example, last year, our team at Wood Stabell Law Group was asked to participate in some pro bono work for an LGBTQ+ youth organization that aimed to give gay and trans youth a senior prom. This organization approached the firm about performing several tasks that would enable gay and trans kids to hold their own prom in a safe, inclusive space. Because many of us are passionate about advocating for groups that are underserved or discriminated against, we said yes.

To us, this project allowed us to help provide a healing opportunity and supportive community to a group of kids who had been denied a memorable all-American experience. Participating in this program was the right choice for our organization because it reflected our firm’s values and passions in a way that made sense for our business and inspired our people.

Regardless of what cause you choose to support, ensuring it is aligned with your company values is critical to long-term fulfillment and success.

2. Ensure any pro bono work is ethical.

Just as your charitable partnerships should be based on passion and care, they should also be founded on what you can give, not what you can get.

While we all want to expand our businesses and look for new prospective partnerships, you must approach pro bono work with a charitable mindset. This will allow your organization to enter the project without expecting a return on the investment, financial or otherwise.

If your business or your employees are engaging in or wanting to engage in charitable opportunities, it’s important to make sure they know that any ROI will be internal (for your people) and external (for the charity). The true ROI for these circumstances lies in the well-being, opportunities and fulfillment of your people.

The most fundamental way to ensure this mindset remains the standard is to get everyone’s buy-in on the cause the organization is supporting. This ensures that team members will care more for the work that they’re doing than what they are receiving from it.

If you do have expectations for the partnership, be sure to document them prior to engaging with the charitable organization. This includes detailing whether the contribution will be in-kind or paid and the scope of products or services.

Final thoughts

Regardless of whether your organization has been charitably giving for decades or you’re considering getting started, make sure that you focus your time and money on the causes you’re most passionate about and ensure any pro bono work is a natural and genuine extension of your business. Mastering these steps will help your employees gain long-term fulfillment and your business success.

Read this article on The Business Journals here.