Profit Minded

Social Good Could Be Your Business’s Best Partner

Talented people are a company’s greatest asset. Especially for a small business that might only have a handful of employees, finding and keeping the right people with the right skills is one of the most important avenues to success. It’s easy to imagine that the best or only way to do that is by offering above-market salaries. But did you know that incorporating programs aimed toward doing social good as part of your business can help promote an engaged workplace culture and make sure that talented people want to work for you?

Showing your employees that you care about their values will help small businesses to attract and keep the most talented people. By giving your employees the chance to donate to the causes that matter to them and (in some cases) by matching their donations up to a certain point, you show them that their values are important to you. Establishing a company charitable giving program is a way to show employees that your company is not all about the bottom line. Stefnie Huth, Director of Growth at California-based RealScout, says that the recruits she has spoken with “tell me they feel really good about working for a company that values doing good.”

You don’t have to be a large company with hundreds of employees to care about giving back to your community. Across the U.S., average participation in workplace giving programs has fallen from 41 percent in 2006 to 33 percent in 2012, and an estimated $10 billion is left on the table every year because employees do not take advantage of company matching programs. Small businesses have an excellent opportunity to change these statistics for the better and boost employee morale at the same time.

Studies have shown that strong workplace giving programs lead to increased employee satisfaction, and thereby help when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. Not only that, but if your small business develops a reputation for giving back to your community, you can bet that the people in your community will be happy to support you as clients or customers. So in addition to making your employees happy, you can build a good image for your company by launching and promoting a charitable giving program through your small business.

Now, a small business owner might be thinking, this is all well and good, but how will I find the time necessary set up a strong giving program at my business—and perhaps more importantly, how will I be able afford all the administration that comes with establish such a program? These are fair concerns, especially since in some ways the world of charitable giving has become more complicated than it once was. Where it used to be that the phrase “workplace giving program” basically meant that your company partnered with The United Way and offered to match employee donations to The United Way, these days employees want more choices and workplace giving programs are far more diverse.

Fortunately, there are options out there that make it easy and cost effective to set up a strong giving program at your small business. Bright Funds offers a complete, cloud-based online giving platform that you can get up and running for your business in a day or less. They use research from respected charity assessment organization to build funds of high-impact nonprofits, and then give your employees and your company the option to decide which of their six funds to make a charitable ‘investment’ in: the environment, education, water, poverty, health, and human rights. This means that your company and your employees can give with confidence that your money will go to the organizations doing the best work in the areas that are most important to you. In other words, you can be confident of seeing a high ‘return’ on your charitable ‘investment.’ Bright Funds even offers payroll integration so your employees can deduct their charitable contributions just like they do with contributions to a 401k.

Small businesses can lead the way when it comes to using the power of business to give back to our communities. And small businesses should want to lead the way, because not only is a strong giving program a good way to make employees happy and build a positive image for your company, it is also a way of giving back and using your small business to promote the health and flourishing of your community and the world. After all, who doesn’t want healthier, happier, more prosperous people the world over to be our employees and our clients and customers? Making social good an important part of your company is not just good for your business, it is good for everyone.

Bradley Depew is an experienced writer who joined Bright Funds' marketing team to try to change the way we think about giving. Learn more at http://www.brightfunds.org

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