How to bring the spirit of giving to work
Giving back. Backing a cause. Philanthropy. CSR. These may have been buzzwords once, but no more. For employees worldwide are waking up to Winston Churchill's maxim: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
The spirit of giving back is growing in India as well. Companies are offering employees an opportunity to contribute to causes they feel for. The efforts include offering time through volunteering, expertise in specialized areas and donating money through payroll initiatives. The list of companies scaling up “giving” initiatives includes Citi India, PwC, SAP, RPG Group and IBM. Smart and self-aware, today’s workforce is also very keen to make a positive impact. In fact, an Employer Branding Trends 2016 Report by People Matters-Monster.com shows 71.5% employees consider organizational support to social causes important while deciding on a job offer.
Interestingly, beneficiaries aren’t the only ones who gain from this culture of giving. According to Deloitte’s 2013 Volunteer Impact Survey, 76% of HR executives feel that the skills and experience acquired through volunteering make a candidate significantly more attractive to employers. Results of the study also indicate that volunteering experience may play a big role in building leadership skills.
Are you ready to take a step towards doing good? Here’s how to start:
Choose a cause
Take some time to think about the causes that will be the right fit for you. Children? Education? Health? Sanitation? The environment? Find something that feels personal to you, matches your values and aligns with what you're passionate about. After all, to work for a cause above and beyond your day job, you should #LoveWhatYouDo.
Aligning with small and medium-sized charitable organizations in your community/city will let you see the impact you can make first-hand. Also, evaluate the charities that your company supports.
Figure out how you can give back
Giving back is not only about donating money. In fact, charities prefer that you donate in other ways that can impact the community more effectively. These include sharing your talent (an hour or two of your expertise), time (afternoons or days dedicated to volunteering), goods (donating gently used things that could be used again) or working out partnerships (for a cause or charity). Consider donating a day’s salary every month or a few working hours to a nonprofit.
Make the right start
Planning a charity drive at work for a cause you support is a good way forward, but it’s important to find out the protocols for charitable giving at your company first.
Once you’ve got the go-ahead from your boss/HR manager, send out personalized emails to your seniors and colleagues including details about the project and what action you want them to take. Don’t spam; one email is more than enough to tell them what you’re up to. Those interested canconnect on a Facebook/WhatsApp group and take things forward.
Remember to send a follow-up email thanking those who participated and share the outcome with them. If you want to further promote the impact of your work, send quarterly progress updates to those who participated.
Be mindful of what you ask
If you’re collecting money for a cause, carefully think through whom you’re tapping for contributions and what you are asking of them. For instance, if you know your department is comprised of people who earn X, it may be acceptable to ask for Y. To make the same request of people who earn fat less would be inappropriate.
The best recourse is to ask people to donate items instead of asking for money. Clothes, books, utensils, homeware or food are some common items many charities accept. Children and families of coworkers can also be urged to participate in this program, to unleash their spirit of giving at a young age.
Bringing the spirit of giving to work is a noble idea, one that can help you build trust and respect amongst your team members. And don’t forget, by helping others you are also helping your career.