During the past decade, we’ve seen a major shift in how companies are mixing profits and purpose to make the world better.
Tom’s Shoes has the “1 for 1” program, which donates a pair of shoes for every sale. Patagonia clothing is a certified B Corp. and has many initiatives supporting the environment. As these companies grow, so does their social impact. (A Certified B Corp. is a for-profit company certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.)
With just a little creativity, your business can be among those shaping the world for the better.
Our company, Webconnex, makes software for event registration and fundraising, and we've made giving back a core value of who we are. In recent years, we have supported entrepreneurship programs in South Africa, fought human trafficking in Thailand, and funded clean water wells in India.
For most companies, the challenge is not the desire to do good, but practically coming up with sensible initiatives that make an impact. Here are five easy ideas you can put in place this year to leverage your company to change the world.
1. Create a charitable pool from profits
We designated a portion of our yearly profits to go into a pot and then let our employees decide how to give it away. Employees nominated organizations and causes they cared about. Then the person who nominated the cause would pitch the cause to the rest of the team. Everyone would vote, and the top four voted organizations would get funded. Last year, the team loved every cause so much that they unanimously decided they wanted to give something to every organization.
Employees personally called the organizations to give them the good news. It was like they were wish granters working for the Make-A-Wish Foundation!
2. Give a week of paid time off for humanitarian trips
One of the common obstacles in recruiting people for humanitarian trips is the limited amount of paid time off people have. A one-week trip means the average person is sacrificing half their vacation time because most companies only offer two weeks off.
Consider adding an extra paid week off for any employee that goes on a weeklong humanitarian service trip. This will encourage and empower your team to do something in the world without sacrificing their other paid time off. Your employee will return a better human being; I promise!
3. Reward volunteerism
Establish an hourly reward for any employee who volunteers in their spare time. Perhaps it’s $25 per volunteer hour that accrues, which can be redeemed through various company perks or even donated to a cause of their choice. Better yet, create a volunteer leaderboard, and reward the employee with the most volunteer hours per quarter with a weekend trip to Disneyland.
4. Match employee charitable donations
Enroll your company in a matching charitable program that allows any employee’s donation to a 501c3 organization to be matched by your company. This not only inspires and encourages generosity, but it doubles the donation and impact of the employee’s contribution.
5. Create a “benevolence stipend”
Create a small stipend for employees to use towards helping someone they encounter in need. Recently, one of our employees learned about a family medical emergency that was occurring in the life of one of our customers. We gave the employee the corporate card to send flowers to the hospital with a note from our team. The customer was brought to tears.
At Webconnex, we’ve made giving back integral to who we are and what we stand for. Our charitable pool is frequently highlighted as one of the main reasons people love to work for us.
These are just a handful of ideas, and there really is no limit to what you can do. Take the initiative, and transform your company into a powerful force for good in the world.