4 Creative Ways for Your Business to Give Back in 2018

February 13, 2018 Molly Hoffmeister

Salesforce partners share inspiring stories of how they‘ve worked philanthropy into their business plans — and how it’s paid off

If February finds your New Years resolutions wearing a little thin, you’re not alone (maybe six days a week at the gym was a bit overly ambitious after all). But if there’s one resolution for your business to stick to in 2018, put ‘giving back’ at the top of that list.

More and more businesses are working philanthropy into the fabric of their core company values, whether it be giving back through product, equity, or employee volunteer time. And, as it turns out, making the community a key stakeholder in your business isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also a win-win situation.

Giving back can yield major results for your business, serving as a proven way to attract and retain top talent, raise morale amongst employees, and build a business that your customers are proud to work with. Furthermore, it’s not hard to find ways to make an impact. We recently reached out to the partners ecosystem to learn how Salesforce partners are giving back, and were incredibly inspired by the stories we heard. Check out a few examples below, and grab our latest ebook, 6 Partners Share How They’re Giving Back, to learn more — and get inspired.

Take a team trip

What better way to give back and secure some quality team bonding time than than to take a trip for a philanthropic cause?

Our friends at SalesFix are a great example of a team that’s done this well. Each year at their annual conference, they put a dollar figure beside their Pledge 1% items of profit, services and time, and strategize how to best fulfill these targets. This past year, that meant a week in Cambodia for a team of 11 (out of 13). They packed hampers for the Foodbank, ran up and down the beautiful Sunshine Coast for Cancer, and supported their colleague Maria as she cycled the mountains of New Zealand for the Smiddy Challenge Days for Girls — to name a few.

Truly getting out of the office and away from day-to-day business can create a memorable opportunity for your team to unite around a cause, and donate a significant chunk of time to giving back.

Let your employees pick a cause

The task of finding the right cause doesn’t have to fall to upper management. In fact, the best ideas for how to give back will often come directly from your employees and the causes they’re already involved with.

For example, our friends at Classy have an annual staff fundraising initiative called Classy Gives (#ClassyGives), where they rally around an employee who’s already involved with a great cause and execute a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on their behalf — using the Classy platform. At the end of last year, they raised funds for ‘Days for Girls,’ a movement dedicated to strengthening women and girls’ sense of dignity and self-esteem by making sustainable feminine hygiene solutions and health education available around the world. Once fundraising is complete, they’ll send their top Classy staff fundraisers to Uganda to distribute kits on behalf of Days for Girls.

“When you let your employees lead the way, you don’t have to look far to find a cause that’s meaningful to your staff.” — Dina Rulli, VP, People Operations at Classy

Lend your expertise

The word ‘volunteering’ often brings to mind tasks like picking up trash on a beach and reading to children (both highly admirable services). But keep in mind that many causes are in desperate need of the exact skills your employees use on a day-to-day basis, and lending that expertise to a local non-profit can be a great way to give back.

Our friends at Enxoo knew their strength was in world-class customer service, so they decided to build solutions on the Salesforce platform designed to help non-profits streamline operating activities. They then developed a country-specific integration with banks to create a fundraising framework and offer it free of charge to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) using Salesforce.

Finding ways to repurpose your business’ product or services to benefit causes and non-profits is an excellent way to give back, while also giving your employees an opportunity to hone in on relevant job skills.

Look for “micro-volunteering” opportunities

Particularly for smaller teams where resources are scarce, volunteering valuable time can sometimes be seen as a risk— after all, if all five of your team members take a morning off to volunteer, who’s around if one of your customers has a business-stopping issue with your product?

Our friends at Learnsmarter found a way to still give back despite limited resources in the form of “micro-volunteering”— or volunteering in small increments of time. After learning about a local non-profit that provided hot meals to those in need, employees started providing the valuable service of transporting the donated food on their way to work. The supermarkets donated the food, the employees picked it up and dropped it off at the non-profit (which lacked transportation services of their own), and got to work just a little later than usual — a sacrifice that made a big difference for the cause but wouldn’t be noticed by customers.

At the end of the day, there are many ways for businesses to give back to their communities — and many ways that businesses can benefit in return. So get creative: Find the model that makes the most sense for your business and make philanthropy a priority in 2018.

Grab our free e-book, 6 Partners Share How They’re Giving Back, for more ideas and inspiration.

4 Creative Ways for Your Business to Give Back in 2018 was originally published in Inside the Salesforce Ecosystem on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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