’Tis Always the Season to Give—Creating a Corporate Culture That Gives Back Year ’Round

When companies contribute to building communities, both neighborhoods and employees benefit. Plus, it’s just good business.

giving tuesday corporate giving

Charity, it is said, begins in the home, but the seed can be planted in the workplace. (Illustration: Courtesy #GivingTuesday)

The holiday season is often the time to reflect and give back. And this year, with the fiscal cliff looming, citizens still recovering from Superstorm Sandy and tensions in the Middle East running high, the shared community built through giving is more important than ever—both in the home and at work.

Yet, building a sense of community in a workplace is not easy. It means creating a unique cultural mindset and team-oriented atmosphere. It means rallying diverse viewpoints toward a common cause or vision. Most importantly, community requires building trust in something bigger than individual drives.

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If you want to see community—both in the making and in action—look at the inaugural #GivingTuesday campaign that took place on Tuesday, November 27. This national movement intended to celebrate the giving season around the holidays and inspire a cross-section of groups and individuals to take action, saw partnerships of more than 2,500 charities, volunteer organizations, corporations, community centers and foundations. Blackbaud, a global software provider to nonprofits, processed $10 million in online donations, which is a 53 percent increase as compared to the Tuesday following Thanksgiving last year. 

The commitment to a giving culture must be a year-round constant. Companies have a great responsibility to create this culture, both to take care of their people and to give back to their communities as a participatory good neighbor.

#GivingTuesday is a strong example of how collaboration between the private sector, nonprofits, community groups, government bodies and media can foster a culture of giving to create a big, meaningful impact. However, while such an important seasonal kick-off helps build momentum, the commitment to a giving culture must be a year-round constant.

Companies have a great responsibility to create this culture, both to take care of their people and to give back to their communities as a participatory good neighbor and corporate citizen. This culture of giving back is not only important to building long-term trust among customers and stakeholders, it is critical to employee trust and retention. The starting point is to enable employees with tools and platforms to get involved in their communities. Employees at all levels want to be involved and make an impact in support of causes that are close to home. By empowering employees to take action, companies have become “homes away from home.” And colleagues are not just colleagues; they are friends, confidants, and, in a sense, extended family. 

Beyond instilling trust with employees, a culture of giving offers a competitive advantage as an employer of choice. Engaged and happy employees lead to improved performance. Employee fulfillment is increasingly important for companies—corporate responsibility is a must-have, not a nice-to-have, for today’s millennials entering the workforce. In fact, 61 percent of job seekers are likely to factor a company’s commitment to the community in their employment decision, according to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey.

I believe that a responsible culture of giving helps private sector groups thrive and, ultimately, helps sustain success. Whether it is giving time, talent, in-kind resources or tools—all of us must participate to be part of this solution.

How will you help build a culture of giving in your workplace, community and world? Take some first steps in COMMENTS.

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