Why giving back is good business

Businesses that are just throwing money at charities are missing the point. To make a real difference to New Zealand we need to invest our most valuable asset – our people.

Community activity boosts employee wellbeing and productivity, that’s why volunteering and fundraising programs should be standard issue within businesses.

By contributing to a cause, people feel better about themselves and the company they work for. People with higher levels of wellbeing are more resilient, can deal with adversity better, and are more productive.

Who doesn’t benefit from increased productivity?

For the charity itself, attracting willing volunteers and expertise is time consuming. Corporations can provide instant relief by putting forward their people, and it can go far beyond traditional volunteer work – providing free financial, legal, marketing, fundraising or technology support is invaluable.

And it goes both ways.

At Sovereign, our customer facing teams need to be empathetic and supportive to support our customers when they need us the most. By understanding what an individual or family is experiencing during a traumatic time, employees can make a real difference.

With this in mind, Sovereign invited Sweet Louise trustee and palliative care nurse Janet Mikkelsen to speak with staff about her experience supporting terminally ill patients. With 30 years of experience, Janet provided staff with insights that empowered them to better understand the role they could play in comforting customers and making things easier for them.

Embedding a community partner like Sweet Louise within your business, for everyone’s benefit, ensures success.

“Sweet Louise has greatly benefited from communications via Sovereign’s digital channels and through internal campaigns. Jointly they have led to payroll giving, volunteer assistance, donations, increased awareness of the work we do and support for external Sweet Louise events such as Auckland Marathon runners.  Sovereign staff have really got behind the cause and shown their desire to help those living with incurable breast cancer. All of us at Sweet Louise are very chuffed to have such meaningful corporate support from Sovereign,” says Sweet Louise CEO Fiona Hatton.

My advice: Don’t decide to support a charity, choose to partner with them. Create an authentic and meaningful connection that makes a difference.

Here are a few thought-starters:

  • Support causes that link to your business purpose.
  • Connect with organisations that are willing and have capability to support employee engagement activity.
  • Provide employees with the choice to support personal causes through a wide mix of volunteering opportunities.
  • Make sure community activity has a high profile internally by sharing how our people and community partners are making a difference.

Author: Clark Todd

I lead Sovereign’s corporate social responsibility programme, which includes supporting community partners Sweet Louise and Youthline I collaborate with community organisations to develop social innovation projects and opportunities for staff to improve their wellbeing. I have also developed a thriving volunteer programme at Sovereign which provides opportunities for all staff to make a difference in the community. My background is in sports marketing and prior to joining Sovereign I worked at ROAR marketing and Nike.

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