4 Ways That Philanthropy is Good for Business

Employees with Dell Technologies volunteered at Marbles Kids Museum in November 2019. The project was coordinated by Activate Good.

When starting a business, there are many considerations to take into account. What is not always considered is how to incorporate community service and philanthropy into the business plan. This might not seem like something that needs attention during the often hectic time period when businesses are first starting out. But having service embedded into a company’s culture can help startups succeed faster.

The argument for incorporating service and philanthropy boils down to four main components:

Retaining and attracting talent

Working at a startup often means working with a small team. Employees often have their hands in multiple things at once. This kind of chaotic work takes a special kind of person to perform, and while great talent can be attracted to work at a startup, there are many things that can also make them sour on the experience. Incorporating service and philanthropy into a startup’s business plan or culture helps startups both retain talent and attract it, by promoting a positive and helpful workplace, as well as a healthy work-life balance. By doing acts of service at their job, employees can feel like they are doing good for others even while at work. This can lead to a more positive work environment, thereby retaining and attracting new employees to work at the startup.

Building relationships

Service and philanthropy can positively impact startups through relationships that can be built through service. Working together in the name of service can bring employees together, and it can also help managers relate to their employees. Relationships can also be built outside of the company, with other startups that are performing similar acts of service, or even with potential clients or business partners. When startups incorporate service and philanthropy into their business model, the employees of that company can bond, both with each other and with people outside of the company, potentially contributing to greater success.

Folks from Raleigh software company insightsoftware volunteered at Marbles Kids Museum last March, to revamp its garden for spring.

Cultivating a sense of community

Like building relationships, a sense of community is another positive outcome of service and philanthropy. Startups often take an enormous amount of work to get off the ground, so the more a community can learn to recognize a startup’s brand or work, the better. Having startups do acts of service or be philanthropic is a way to get the word out to the community that this business cares and wants to help the community. This can only increase its standing in the community and benefit the business in the long run.

Corporate social responsibility

The final point for how service and philanthropy can benefit startups is the concept of social good. Though this sense of obligation for companies and organizations to give back isn’t new, it has definitely taken on new importance in recent years. Giving back is seen as a duty among many young people, and they expect their employers to follow that same policy of social responsibility. This sense of social responsibility is a way for companies to encourage acts of service and philanthropy while also benefiting from the outcomes of building value into their business model.

Encouraging and promoting acts of service and philanthropy among startups has so many benefits. Building the expectations of service into a company’s business model allows the employees to connect and establish relationships with each other and the outside world, thereby creating a happier workplace. This kind of company culture allows for the retaining and attracting of talent. Service also fosters a sense of community and allows a startup to build trust with potential clients or partners. Finally, there is the overarching sense of social responsibility and the need to do good, which can persuade startups and other companies to incorporate service into their business plan. Put it all together, and startups can really benefit from doing acts of service and promoting philanthropy.

This article originally appeared on the blog for Activate Good, a Triangle nonprofit that matches volunteers with service opportunities. It is used with permission. Caroline Brinkley is a community coordinator with Raleigh Founded, which aims to foster inclusive communities of entrepreneurs who create lasting economic and social impact.

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