By Matt Combs of YourCause

Today we welcome a guest post by Matt Combs of YourCause.  His focus is on your people, the employees who work side-by-side to make your small business great every day.  By investing in those people, and building what he calls a “culture of goodwill,” you can enhance their experience and help your brand.  This is just part one, so stay tuned next week for the second installment! – Rachel

Ingraining goodwill into your company’s culture might seem like a huge task. Between balancing cash flow, as well as customer and employee satisfaction, it can be overwhelming for leaders to even think about beginning to develop a culture of goodwill. But what if I told you that a goodwill culture could significantly help fulfill your goals for employee satisfaction?  According to a recent study performed by Net Impact, 53% of today’s workforce would be satisfied if they worked for a company that contributed to society. I know, I know…another thing to add to your plate. Before you panic, I am here to say that you can easily create a culture that is neither time-consuming nor daunting, but instead, helping relieve your day-to-day stresses.

The first thing you need to understand is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You may not know it yet, but you already have employees who participate in charitable events and would love to be involved in developing, organizing and executing a plan to ingrain goodwill into the company culture. Lean on your employees, and develop a goodwill committee.

You may be wondering, “How do I fill the committee seats?” Simply by asking. Generally, only employees passionate about goodwill and giving will volunteer to be a part of the committee. By gathering volunteers together, you can rest easy knowing that “goodwill” plans and events will not be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day tasks.  Committee members would manage:

  • Brainstorming company goodwill events and ideas
  • Vetting events presented to them from other employees
  • Organizing and executing all goodwill activities
  • Internally promoting and participating in events

Before you set the team loose, you will want to communicate your expectations for the committee. In the inaugural goodwill committee meeting make sure you are in attendance to communicate your vision at a high level.  Areas I recommend you cover:

  • Overall reason the committee was formed
  • Execution expectations
  • Ground rules for supporting causes that reflect your company’s mission and values
  • Approval process for events or other plans that influence the company’s goodwill
  • Budget broken out by annual spending criteria and event caps
  • Metrics that will be used to measure the committee’s success

These parameters will allow the committee’s imagination to run free – that is – free within reason. By surrendering the power and details to the committee, you are able to focus on the business and keep your participation high-level so that you are only approving proposed events and associated costs.  In part two of this series, I’ll discuss additional ways you can use goodwill to create bonds between employees and encourage those not participating to join the fun.

Rachel Hutchisson (@RachelHutchssn) is VP, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at Blackbaud, Inc., a 2,700-person technology company that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations. She built the company’s “give back” function from the ground up, relying on expertise she gained in over two decades of working at the intersection of the business world and the nonprofit sector. Rachel is a member of the #GivingTuesday core advisory team, leads her company’s involvement in the Billion+Change pro-bono initiative, and serves on the boards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals International, The Giving Institute, and the Coastal Community Foundation. She is also a member of the core team that launched TEDxCharleston in 2013. She is a graduate of Dickinson College and received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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