4 Ways to Integrate Philanthropy into Your Company Culture

Keith Krach
May 18, 2016

The New York Times announced last year that charitable giving in the United States had surpassed a 2007 pre-recession peak of $355 billion. In 2014, the Giving USA Foundation reports, the total amount of charitable donations from individuals and corporations reached approximately $358 billion, reflecting a recovering economy and growing support for nonprofits and their efforts. In the business sector, this trend resulted in a nearly 14 percent increase in corporate giving between 2013 and 2014.

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Savvy business leaders are keen to capitalize on the ethos of the millennial generation, a group of young adults who identify personally with the products they use. As a group, millennials retain a significant percentage of buying power in the modern market and seek to align themselves with organizations that pursue meaningful work or that contribute to important causes. The “capitalism with a conscience” trend can be implemented at your corporation in several ways.

Can your startup provide a service to nonprofits?

Every company has something to offer, and identifying the ways that your firm’s product or service could be useful to a charitable organization opens avenues for giving that are both simple and effective. For example, DocuSign offers its eSignature software and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform for a reduced price to nonprofits that meet certain criteria. Simplifying document management and the process of obtaining signatures on binding legal documents makes nonprofit operations much more fluid, a process that DocuSign already provides to its larger customer base. This form of charitable donation easily fits within DocuSign’s regular operations.

Companies that assist these charitable organizations can benefit by strengthening their professional network. The philanthropic sector brings together major players from many industries for the sake of charity. Providing a service to a nonprofit may introduce you to a broader spectrum of business contacts in a setting where you will likely form trusting relationships with other professionals.

Can you involve your employees? 

Encouraging employee engagement in charitable endeavors offers an excellent opportunity to develop team-building exercises, demonstrate your company’s commitment to a value-based culture, and improve morale at your office. Some businesses organize company-sponsored groups that participate in projects with charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Others may bring the entire office to assist at a soup kitchen during the holidays. 

One of the most progressive options for encouraging employees’ involvement in philanthropy is through the practice of volunteer time off (VTO). Employees receive paid time off to volunteer with a charitable organization of their choice. While this is still a relatively new practice, the concept is growing quickly. VTO can be a valuable perk for attracting and retaining talented millennial workers. At DocuSign, employees receive up to 24 hours of VTO.

Apart from increasing employee satisfaction, providing your employees with incentives to volunteer and donate helps to improves the local community. Undertaking charitable endeavors in the community can create better school systems, solve local community issues, and even improve a city’s aesthetics, making it more likely that top talent will want to stay.

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Can you sponsor an event for a cause?

Corporate sponsorship of local events is a big plus for businesses that want to gain publicity while making a positive impact. Whether you work at a business that is large enough to sponsor an event, such as a golf tournament for charity, or at a smaller firm that can assist in organizing a charitable 5K run, there are plenty of options for involvement. For instance, in-office events such as toy and food drives during the holiday season do not take any time away from employee productivity, and they can engage employees by providing a simple yet powerful way to give back to the community.

Sponsoring an office team to participate in charitable events in the community is an excellent way to earn the admiration and appreciation of residents in your area, who may be more inclined to use your services. Moreover, other companies may see you as more trustworthy and consider potential business partnerships 

Can you make charity a part of your company culture? 

Making philanthropy a part of your company culture can help you earn the respect of your employees, increase their commitment to your organization, and help your business to stand out as the kind of company that attracts top talent. According to a study conducted by America’s Charities, employees who feel committed to their employer are 87 percent less likely to resign from their jobs and more likely to put forth effort into the work they produce.

For example, DocuSign supports a variety of nonprofit organizations and causes through the DocuSign Impact Foundation, an independent, philanthropic entity. The foundation

matches DocuSign employee donations to certified 501(c)(3) organizations. In addition, Keith Krach, the Chairman and CEO of DocuSign, is an advisor to New Story Charity, which facilitates donor funding to build housing for homeless families.

Incorporating philanthropy into your company culture can be as easy as awarding annual grant stipends to your staff or providing employees with the opportunity to donate through their paychecks. Whichever method of giving best suits your business model, consistency is key. Company involvement in the philanthropic sector should be an ongoing effort and a regular part of operations, rather than a one-time opportunity to demonstrate staff loyalty.

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.