Motivating Employees to Get Involved with Charitable Endeavors

By Asher Raphael
October 1, 2013
THE TALK... | Management

Most businesses today emphasize the need to rally employees behind a philanthropic mission in the local community as a way to ‘pay it forward’ while bringing colleagues closer together as a team, but figuring out where to start is usually the hardest part of getting involved in a cause. The key to choosing a charitable endeavor is to be sure it is in line with your company’s overall mission and is something with which your employees can easily relate. A successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy is more than just writing a check–it can achieve benefits for your business beyond the usual warm and fuzzy feelings elicited by doing a good deed.

Corporate social responsibility has always been important to us at Power. We had undertaken smaller one-off charitable projects throughout our 20- year history as a company, but we wanted to do something more. As soon as we were introduced to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a leading foundation for pediatric cancer research, we knew their cause was something that would inspire our employees to get involved and we began working with them as a corporate partner in 2011. 

We were proud to expand our commitment to Alex’s last year when we embarked on our first annual Power Month for Alex’s, a month-long initiative aimed at raising money and awareness in each of the markets where we do business. We started the program to complement Alex’s annual National Lemonade Days fundraising initiative. Power Month includes a number of events and promotions in support of Alex’s, ranging from a Power-sponsored night at our local MLS soccer stadium to employee volunteer days at the local children’s hospital and volunteering at the annual Alex Scott: Stand for Hope Phone Bank, a day-long telethon broadcast live from the CBS 3 studio in Philadelphia. We’re proud to say that we’ve raised more than $300,000 for the Foundation to date as a result of our employees unwavering dedication to supporting the cause.

Taking on a formal CSR strategy, not to mention devoting an entire month to a cause, can be a daunting endeavor for any business. We were able to make our efforts successful by keeping some key points in mind. First, it’s essential to find a cause that your employees can connect with, especially in an era when free time feels exceedingly rare and in an industry where the work week often creeps into the weekend.

Once you’ve landed on a potential charity to support, take an informal survey around the office to ensure the organization resonates with the majority and compels everyone to take interest. Next, create incentives and volunteer opportunities that balance time spent volunteering with time relaxing alongside co-workers and family members. This helped us enlist employees to support the cause and thank them for sharing in our commitment.

And finally, promote your efforts both internally and externally. Implementing a charity program can foster feelings of loyalty and pride among employees and customers alike – but only if they are aware of the company’s commitment to the project. Utilize tools like social media and customer communications to spread the message to your audience and you’ll likely garner a greater level of participation in your program.

Above all else, be sure to set a realistic goal for yourself when embarking on your first charitable initiative. A corporate social responsibility program will not only help bring your employees together and inspire them to feel pride about your organization, it will also have a huge impact on a group of people in need–and that’s certainly a win-win.

Asher Raphael is the chief strategy officer of Power Home Remodeling Group, the nation’s sixth largest home remodeling company with more than 1,200 employees and $170 million in annual sales. Power provides energy-saving and environmentally friendly exterior remodeling solutions to homeowners in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Raphael oversees the company’s overall strategic direction, which includes evaluating and directing new business opportunities, partner alliances, government relations and national expansion. He is also instrumental in the critical recruitment and development of prospective and existing talent, overseeing the company’s talent acquisition department. An Inc. 5000 company, Power has served more than 87,000 homeowners and is recognized as a home improvement leader by its "Dealer of the Year" award from Window and Door Magazine and the 2011 "Top Workplace" from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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