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Top-Shelf Tip No. 212:

"If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody."

Malcom Bane

Is Yours An Organization Of Givers?

Did you know that total giving to charitable organizations in 2013 was $335 billion? That’s two percent of the gross domestic product in the U.S. This includes donations to education charities, human services, foundations, health charities and charities that focus on the environment—all of which experienced an increase in donations last year.

Promotional Consultant Today shares this insight on taking the first steps to becoming a charitable organization.

Companies like Alcoa, Safeway and UPS are leading the corporate world in charitable giving, and it pays off. Emma Seppala, associate director for the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at the University of California argues, “When organizations promote an ethic of compassion rather than a culture of stress, they may not only see a happier workplace but also an improved bottom line.”

So the question should be not why to become a giving organization, but how to become a giving organization? And you don’t have to be a large behemoth corporation to create a culture of giving.

Salesforce, the widely adopted CRM platform, launched in 2008 with a simple idea of giving one percent of its time, one percent of its equity and one percent of its resources to communities.

The Salesforce.com Foundation is based on a simple idea: Leverage Salesforce.com’s people, technology and resources to improve communities throughout the world. They call this integrated philanthropic approach the 1/1/1 model. It’s easy to get started and the benefits grow exponentially as your company grows.

Since its founding, Salesforce has given more than $68 million in grants, more than 680,000 hours of community service, and provided product donations to more than 23,000 nonprofits.

One small way to start the chain of “change” is to assign a charitable or cultural champion— someone who is responsible for organizing interest and efforts across the organization. A small company called ZinePak did just that. They called this monthly rotating role the Culture Captain. That person’s responsibility was to make sure the spirit of ZinePak remained high throughout the month. This included scheduling opportunities for employees to give back to their community.

"Since we're going fast and furious to fulfill customer demands all day, internal production stress builds up," says Scott Voris, president and CEO of Kelmscott Communications. “Working side-by-side in a volunteer position helps to build respect, communication, team work and sensitivity to everyone's role in the organization." When your employees work together on a project that is not all about the deadline, they will develop greater compatibility and are more likely to meet those future deadlines without incident.”

So what are you doing as an organization to give back to your local community? Don’t wait for the holiday season. Take small steps today to make it a part of your company’s culture.

Source: Ray Williams provides leadership training and executive coaching to executives. He is author ofThe Leadership Edge, Breaking Bad Habits, and co-author of Ready, Aim, Influence; Systemic Change: Touchstones For the Future School; and Dragon Tamer. He also writes for the National Post/Financial Post and Salon.com.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson


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