Is Your Company Giving This Season?

Christina Lewellen
December 14, 2010
THE TALK...

It's been a tough year for many businesses and individuals, no doubt, but it's an even tougher landscape for the charities and nonprofit organizations aiming to help those in need. This holiday season, I keep hearing and reading about how charities are struggling to collect the funds and other donations they need to fulfill their missions.

This article, for example, points out that even if your funds are limited, there are still ways to get involved and make an impact this season.

Through the years, I have come across many companies in the window and door industry that make charitable giving a priority, especially around the holidays. Veka is a great recent example.  I'm hoping that by bringing up the topic and running the poll this week, we can Talk a little bit about what your company is doing to help others this year. In tooting your own horn a little bit, you may share some ideas with other companies who opted not to get involved this year due to financial limitations.

Please send me an email or post below to share some stories about how you and/or your company is giving back this season. It's been a tough year for our industry, but I'm hoping your numerous responses will show that, despite the economic conditions, we can all find ways to dig deeper and give back to those less fortunate.

 

Survey Results for 12/15/2010:

This year, my company got involved with charities by:

None of the above

  

 

37%

A combination of these initiatives

  

 

32%

Donating money

  

 

18%

Donating food, toys, and other items to those in need

  

 

6%

Volunteering as a group to help a cause

  

 

5%

"Adopting" families, children, soldiers, etc.

  

 

2%

 

I had some very nice feedback this week from companies that took me up on my offer to do a little horn tooting.I know that many, many companies in this industry get involved with their communities year-round, just because it's the right thing to do. These efforts get even more attention at the holidays, I think, given that many folks have a desire to do something for those less fortunate.

"Thank you for saying something about giving," writes one reader. "Charity is what sets America apart from the the rest of the world. Americans are the most giving people on the planet. Both the giver and receiver are blessed from charitable acts."

One manufacturer shared some details on his company's sponsorship of a local school's read-a-thon program. "We gave a donation to the school library in honor of a popular teacher who was recently killed in an unfortunate auto accident," he writes. "We also award the top readers in each classroom with a summer pass to the local water park. Our success as a local window manufacturer is very much related to the fact that our customers make a concerted effort to shop local. This is our way of giving back and saying thank you."

Bob Maynes of Mathews Brothers, a long-standing Maine manufacturer, says his company has a lengthy history of supporting multiple organizations, and not just around the holidays. "Mathews Brothers Co. has a history of giving back to our community since the turn of the century. The turn of the last century, that is. That’ when the second owner of the company, O.E. Frost made it a corporate priority to support the Waldo County General Hospital. Today, we are still an active partner with the hospital."

"Aside from that," he continues, "we regularly support the Pine Tree Society, National MS Society, The Salvation Army, the ALS Association, Lions, Rotary International, Shrine, and The American Heart Association."

Maynes took a moment to brag about one of his company's customers as well. "A couple years ago, we instituted a rewards points program for our customers, which can be exchanged for merchandise or travel. Some use the points to reward their customers, some use the points to reward their sales people. One of our very long time customers, Viking Lumber, takes all their points and donates them to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, an organization they have supported for many years."
 

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.

Comments

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BJ Roberts, a great friend and a great preson. I worked with him and continued my relationship with BJ after we finished our time at StorageTek. One word comes to mind, ok, a lot, when I think of BJ. Here they are; Honesty, Integrity, Positive, Caring, Supportive, Funny, Hard Working, Team Player, Giving, Sharing, Love of Life, and Friendship. BJ was a guy I always looked up to, always! No matter what we needed to do A smile, A laugh, off he would go To share the spirit that everyone grew to know Can I help with this? , Can I help you with that? always there, even when you needed a pat. We would go to lunch to catch up on life he loved his life and adored his wife. He is someone I will miss forever and ever that I called my friend, always and forever. Doug DirkesRelationship: FriendYour City: Loveland

Those 37% don't know that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Being part of our community (serving on a commission, being a Rotarian, and helping our neighbors when word gets to us) has upped the reputation of my company 100 fold.

That was not, nor should it be, the intention of our giving. However, it turns out to be a fact that giving encourages others to give in return.

A couple of years ago we were contacted by our local HBA. A very giving woman had fallen on hard times and was going to be having an operation requiring her to be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. The community was pulling together to renovate her home to wheel chair compatibility. Of course I would help. Send me the list of doors. No prob. I was happy to help and spread the word too.

2 years later and we are still getting orders from people who say "thanks for helping her - we would buy from no one else".

Yes, I appreciate the business, but that warm and fuzzy feeling I get over and over again is worth more than gold.

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