Whether you are an established business owner or just starting out as a new Building Service Contractor (BSC), growing your business is probably one of your New Year’s Resolutions. While you attend to the daily grind of running your business and running it well, don’t forget to look up. Be a part of the community that supports your company and give back to a cause that is important to your employees and to you. Offering the best service and buying the biggest advertisement is oftentimes not enough to be competitive. Successful business owners will tell you what sets apart a good business from a great one: altruism.
Obviously you know that giving back will make you feel good while you are doing it and after the fact, but beyond intrinsic rewards, what tangible results should be expected from the business owner who invests his company’s time and resources to a worthy cause? The pay-offs of corporate charity work are multi-faceted but they all add up to a more successful business model.
Internally, employees who work for companies that give back feel better about who they work for and about coming to work every day. They are more committed because they work for one of the good guys so their productivity is usually higher. In fact, A PWC study revealed, “Employees most committed to their organizations put in fifty seven percent more effort on the job and are eighty seven percent less likely to resignthan employees who consider themselves disengaged.”
Research from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business shows that employee volunteering is linked to greater workplace productivity and satisfaction. Jessica Rodell, author of the research, says, “Overwhelmingly employees who volunteered gave more time and effort to their jobs, were more willing to help out their colleagues, talked more positively about their companies and were less likely to do detrimental things like cyber loaf or waste time on the job.”
Starting a recognition program
Once a strong corporate commitment has been made to charity and quarterly or monthly work with the charity is carried out, then employers have a valuable reason to recognize employees who are making a difference. Unsure if you need an employee recognition program? Research shows that you do! In the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, “More than half (fifty-three percent) of respondents said having their passions and talents recognized and addressed is their top reason for remaining at their current company.” When companies recognize employees for the good work they do behind their desk and in their local community it reinforces that behavior and sets the foundation for a pattern of positive performance in the future. This is how you define your company culture and communicate that to your customers. Altruism transforms and viola, a great company is born!
External pay-offs of altruism
So now that we have examined the valuable internal benefits of altruism, let’s discuss how your external goals can be met by being a part of a worthy charity. And don’t forget, that if you work with a nonprofit that is approved by the IRS, your company’s man hours and monetary donations can be deducted by up to fifty percent on your adjusted gross income.
Wag the dog
The publicity your business can get by telling your local newspaper, community magazine or cable station about your involvement is invaluable. This is basically free advertising that shines a very bright light on your business to your potential future customers. And for your existing customers, hearing about your philanthropy just reinforces their commitment to you. So, be sure to take high resolution photos at your event and post them to your website, and push your charitable involvement on social media to create a buzz.
Better yet, invite members of the press to attend your fundraiser or special event so they can cover the story. A 2010 study done by Cone Communications revealed that eighty-five percent of consumers have a better outlook on businesses that give back to a charity they care about. For this reason, it is vital that you do some market research to identify the most backed causes in your area. Local is always better, so talk to your employees about what groups they might already involved in or are passionate about.
Supreme Maintenance Organization (SMO) is a BSC that has given back to a variety of charitable causes. President and Co-founder, David Murphy grew his company out of his family’s home, just two hundred dollars and his mom’s vacuum in 1989 and has always known the value of being an active part of the community through his personal altruism. But, when it came to choosing a charity for SMO to really dig into and support in local community of Greensboro North Carolina, neither Murphy nor Gary Collins, cofounder and VP of Operations could choose just the right one. So last year, they started their own 501C3, Kids to the coast.
Murphy grew up in the Triad of North Carolina and says he was fortunate to take several vacations and even have a family beach home in Garden City, South Carolina. He grew up loving the beach and looking forward to putting his toes in the sand on a regular basis. He says he took the lifestyle for granted until 1986, when as an assistant youth baseball coach he chaperoned a group of middle schoolers to a tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Murphy says, “I will never forget the look on some of these young men’s faces when they said that this was the first time they had ever seen the ocean. They were so excited and could hardly contain themselves as several jumped in the ocean in their street clothes,” He had an awakening then and realized how lucky he had been to have had access to the beach his entire life and what it had done for him over the years.
When Murphy shared this story—with great detail and emotion— to his own children when they were old enough to understand, they wanted to know how they could help others get to the beach. Through his family’s prompting and his company’s sponsorship, Kids to the Coast was born in 2015. This deeply personal and impactful life walk motivated his family and his board of directors to want to connect with others in the Greensboro community in a very unique way.
Murphy hopes to give disadvantaged youth the opportunity to visit the beach for the first time and that the experience might open their eyes to careers that they might not otherwise consider, such as marine sciences. He went onto say, “It is also important to let kids know that the world is bigger than just their local community and that there are people out there who care about them and want to help them have new experiences.”
Kids to the Coast is working with the Boys and Girls Club to identify middle school age youth who have never been to the beach before for their first trip, scheduled this April. SMO held a miniature golf fund raiser last summer and invited employees and customers to get involved. Diana Wilson, Vice President of Business Development at SMO says “When I was a teenager, I actually learned that a family of kids I was in school with had never been to the beach. So, when I heard about Kids to the Coast, I was thrilled to know that I could finally do something to help someone like my friends go to the beach.”
Making good work count
SMO has leveraged their involvement with Kids to the Coast on their website, through several local newspapers and through local TV spots. Murphy also says the customers he invited to the miniature golf fund raiser showed real buy-in to the charity’s concept and were eager to contribute their own time and money to the cause. SMO is building strong community and business relationships in Greensboro. “Many times in speaking with potential customers, our sales representatives will speak about our company’s involvement with Kids to The Coast. I believe the sales reps and their clients like the fact that we are vested in the local community.” In this way, sales has an existing bond with customers and something to build rapport about before asking for the sale.
Murphy went onto say about being a community minded BSC, “We believe the best building service contractor requires a strong team of service minded individuals who care about each other and the work they are performing. Because of Kids to the Coast, SMO’s corporate motto of “Keeping Facilities Clean & Landscapes Green” has expanded to include, “Expanding Children’s Understanding of the Vastness of the World and Helping Them Find Greater Purpose.” So does altruism affect SMO’s bottom line? Murphy says, emphatically, “YES,” and that his employees—and customers—have shown they are also on the same page in their belief that serving their community matters.