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.
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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