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Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 3
Issue 9

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
- Winston Churchill

During the holiday season, many people think about giving those less fortunate than themselves. Some individuals will even reflect about their life. Where do we as individuals fit in this universe? In the bigger picture outside of family and work, you may ask yourself, “What is my life’s purpose?”

During Thanksgiving, there is a lot of conversation about gratitude. What are you particularly thankful for? When thinking about abundance in your own life, you might reflect on others who are not as fortunate in terms of health, wealth and family. We tend to think outside of ourselves at holiday time which is why food banks and homeless shelters get the majority of their donations at this time of year. What is the philosophy of giving that you have adopted from your family culture?

Like your personal life, your business represents your values. They should be reflected in everything you do in business. In the last issue of Growing Possibilities, we discussed culture, related to values and the kind of company you want to run. Corporate giving is an extension of the internal culture. It is how you relate to the community and those you serve.

Corporate giving makes the workplace a more comfortable and welcoming environment to spend time. People are more conscious than ever about doing meaningful work and giving back in some way. By clearly defining how your business is a giving entity, you will provide employees a level of satisfaction that they otherwise would not get at work.

Businesses should find one or two causes to support. Here are some ways to get involved in the giving spirit all year. It is not necessary to compete with the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. There are means to give at the office that are affordable.

  • Let employees volunteer during business hours. Provide personnel to tutor for a campaign fighting illiteracy; ask for employees to mentor underprivileged children; or send interested individuals to do errands for the elderly.
  • Match funds when employees make donations. After adopting a cause that your employees can feel passionate about, match the amount of money they donate.
  • Support causes with fundraisers. See how many people will participate in a walkathon or road race for a health-related cause. Those who aren’t athletically inclined can help with registration, public relations, or refreshments.
  • Select a cause that is relevant to your business or mission. Technology companies could donate software or repair older computers for schools or community programs. Law firms can provide pro-bono advice to victims of domestic abuse. Hairdressers can shape wigs for cancer patients for free.

However you decide to design your corporate giving, make it personal and ongoing. It will have more meaning if it provides benefit throughout the year, rather than just during holiday time. Define the values you want your company to represent and share them with employees, vendors and customers. They will perceive your company in a more positive light. It might result in increased loyalty, something that continues to fade throughout the business world. And most of all, you and your staff will feel good about making a contribution. After all, most people want fulfillment in their jobs beyond bringing home a paycheck. Everyone involved in giving may receive as much joy as the recipients of their caring deeds.

Happy holidays to all.

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