Supporting nonprofits can positively affect your business,
and in turn increase awareness and support for those organizations.
At Enliven, we believe that corporate philanthropy is an essential function that fosters employee engagement and generates business value. For example, 83% of employees prefer to work for a company that supports causes and charities. Even more remarkably, a full 93% of consumers want to know what companies are doing to make the world a better place, in order to decide where to spend their own money. These are compelling, bottom line statistics [Giving USA 2017 and 2017 Cone CSR Report], and ones we should all pay attention to.
Some other benefits to consider. Learning about the nonprofit’s cause helps broaden one’s horizons and strengthens compassion for others. People gain confidence and a sense of pride knowing they’re helping to make a difference. By engaging in support activities, employees can experience team building, which can help improve moral. Plus, they may interact and meet new people, make new friends, feel like they’re a greater part of the community, even learn a new skill, all while taking on new challenges and having fun.
Each quarter, Enliven commits time, energy and money to a local (Phoenix) nonprofit. Says Denise McElfish, VP of Administration, “We offer our employees a day to volunteer their services, or do an internal promotion, or we’ll include an organization in an event we’re producing. We’ve included and promoted the local Make-A-Wish chapter during a recent association mixer we hosted. We’ve held food drives for St. Mary’s Food Bank during our Annual Industry Chili Cook-Off, and volunteered to stuff food boxes at their downtown facility (a great team building exercise), and more.
Jerry Brown, Director of Public Relations at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, the oldest food distribution organization in the country, says they love hosting companies on site, and help coordinate other activities back at the company. The results are powerful for company’s, the employees, their families, and others, and most importantly in helping feed hungry Arizonans.
“After volunteering, many bring their families back on their own time,” he says. “Often, individuals and smaller groups from the company come on their own as a team-building opportunity weeks or months later.”
Brown adds that by making the volunteer event or opportunity fun, those that didn’t initially want to participate will want to the next time, or will be inspired to act on their own. St. Mary’s makes volunteering easy and fun by providing meeting space for up to 200 people with a community kitchen, catering by a division of the organization, and by playing upbeat music during food box assembly.
Phoenix is a big event destination city, and Hollie Costello, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Make-A-Wish® Arizona, facilitates companies who want to bring Wish Kids and families as speakers to share the joy and happiness that granted wishes bring. She shared how one long-time supporter of Make-A-Wish, Isagenix, goes even further by including the organization in pre-conference materials, educating attendees about their support before the event, then spends significant time during the event promoting Make-A-Wish.
“Other companies challenge attendees and participants to see how much they can raise by completing tasks during the event, where the sponsor will match the donation. It’s a fun way to involve participants – everybody feels good at the end,” she says.
Both organizations provide materials and websites for companies to hold supporting events virtually at work, in the community, or at conferences. These sites can track activity to encourage friendly competition. Both organizations also encourage social media posts, links and uploads to engage people outside the company, and will help companies craft messages, posts and blogs with custom templates and content. There’s nothing better than seeing genuine, smiling employee faces. And so many people outside the company will see these posts as well. That leaves a positive impression of the company.
“It’s import to show your own philanthropic efforts as a company, but it also shows other companies, especially those of like size or industry, what your company does,” Jerry Brown says.
Here are the resources if you’re interested in supporting these two nonprofit organizations:
St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Nat Cooper, volunteer coordinator, 602-343-3134, firstfoodbank.org
Make-A-Wish Arizona, Hollie Costello, VP of Marketing and Public Relations, 602.343.9434, Arizona.wish.org
What does your company do to support its community? We’d love to share more ways that companies get involved locally or nationally.