“Having a mission-driven, culture-driven business is the key to being successful” – Amy Bohutinsky
You have created and established a successful business and now that you have a handle on your workflow, with a supportive staff, you decide it’s time to do more. Perhaps the idea of giving back to your community or partnering with a charity has crossed your mind, but you are unsure of where to start. Taking the first steps to get your business involved with a nonprofit can seem like a daunting task. You may have the desire to participate or partner with an organization and not know where to start or how to get involved. There are so many benefits to creating a positive relationship with your community and charitable causes with simple ways to make a difference.
Many of the benefits of getting involved with a charitable organization can include creating a positive image and new partnerships in the community, promoting teambuilding and leadership skills in the workplace, drawing positive media attention and coverage for your business for free, expand and increase sales for your company, and finally, tax benefits for your business (who doesn’t love that?). Promoting charity and giving back creates a positive sense of purpose and satisfaction, while also increasing morale.
Here are a few easy ways you can get your business involved with a nonprofit and start creating a mission-driven purpose for your workplace.
1.Create a Mentoring Program
There is no greater gift than the gift of knowledge so why not give back to your community by sharing your business’ opportunities to those who want to learn. Partner with a local college or school to offer free internship and education opportunities to students who are interested in your company’s field and to educate students on how they can become successful. Create a system that promotes not only education, but potential transition into new jobs and careers. MakersKit, a provider of DIY craft kits, began its roots in the LA community by offering free art classes to students due to the monetary cuts of art education programs in California. Also, Loyola Marymount University has established a mentor program for its Entertainment Finance Course, as it is the only school in Los Angeles where the course is specifically taught to Finance majors. The program has brought together industry executives from companies such as 20th Century Fox, Google, Netflix, and Universal to help connect and transition students into the entertainment finance world. Establishing mentor programs allows your entire business to get involved and give a greater sense of purpose to reflect back into your employee’s work and positively into the community.
If donating items vs. time is what you are looking for, there are a number of ways to give resources to organizations in your community. Find a local organization or partner with a school and hold a drive to collect items to donate. Have employees bring in items and seek outside help from the community to gain a larger network to collect from. The Dream Builders Project hosts multiple charity drives each year including a back to school supply drive to benefit poverty stricken neighborhoods, care packages and supplies donated directly to the homeless population in Los Angeles, and art supplies collected for The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Art and Music Therapy Program. You can seek out organizations such as The Dream Builders Project who already have organized drive events established and join in on the fun of giving with them.
When we give to others we feel good, so consider taking a break for the day to make a difference in your community. Take a day away from the office to bring your staff to a local organization to offer their time and talents. This break from the office rituals can have a lasting impact on your work climate and the morale in your business. Volunteer to feed the homeless for the day, participate in a beautification project, or visit a nursing home to bring joy to the elderly. This can also enhance teamwork and leadership skills within your staff which can potentially infiltrate into the efforts and work in your office.
Once you find a cause your company is passionate about, find an event in your area that promotes and benefits the cause. Events can range from a sporting tournament, a gala or charity auction, or donation drives. The Dream Builders Project holds its annual “A Brighter Future for Children” charity gala which benefits the Mark Taper- Johnny Mercer Artists Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. These types of events can bring not only positive results for the organization, but can also further connect your business to your community.
If time is not something you can offer, but your business has the monetary funds to do so, there are numerous ways to make donations and give to charitable causes. You may want to add into your budget a certain allotted amount or hold a donation drive to donate funds to a local or national charity. To go a step further, you can have your business collect donations for an organization and match funds to whatever is collected. SnackNation, a subscription service that offers healthy snack options for businesses and individuals, donates ten meals to families enrolled in the Feeding America program for every box they ship out. Another option is to have a percentage of your sales directed toward a particular cause.This not only offers more funds to help the organization, but also offers an outlet for your business to create a positive presence in your community.
Whatever your abilities or interests, there are many ways your business can become involved with a nonprofit and make a difference in your community.
By: Jessica Paisant