Without a doubt, 2020 has drawn attention to an obvious lack of opportunity for minority populations, an inequality in our society that’s become so obvious that it can no longer be ignored. Some of these long-standing problems were exacerbated by COVID-19, but now business owners have a fantastic opportunity to use their businesses to help in some small (or, large) way.
Here’s why it’s a win-win for business – Millennials and Gen Z care about community. It’s that simple. If your business doesn’t value community, then your business is less likely to survive.
- The pandemic has brought about an even stronger sense of individual responsibility. Nearly three-fourths said the pandemic has made them more sympathetic towards other’s needs, and that they intend to take actions to have a positive impact on their communities (2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey).
- Both generations said they’ll make a special effort to more actively patronize and support businesses – especially smaller, local sellers – after the pandemic. But, they won’t hesitate to penalize companies whose stated and practiced values conflict with their own (2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey).
- Job loyalty rises as businesses address employee needs, from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and reskilling (2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey).
- Macquarie Graduate School of Management found that 93% of employees who volunteer through their company report being happy with their employer, and 54% of those who are proud of their company’s contributions to society are engaged at work.
Creating a give back program is not a novel concept – many businesses try to create give back programs, yet, many fail to realize their goals. The reason many fail is because the programs were conceived of and created as an “add-on.” That approach simply doesn’t work. For instance, spending occasional days at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or providing hours that employees can spend at the non-profit of their choice, do not create cohesion that solidifies teams, improves morale and skills, or actually makes an impact on the non-profit’s goal. There is a better way to create and integrate give back programs.
Wick Law specializes in helping business owners create amazing give back programs that are a win-win. We have developed guidelines to ensure a win-win for both the business and the non-profit. Here’s how we can help:
Pick your passion! You know what you care about, but do you have a handle on what non-profits in your community address the things you care about? If you know which non-profits are out there, do you know how they do what they do? Do their goals align with yours? Start by fostering a relationship between your business and the particular non-profit or group. If addressing racism is important to your business, focus on non-profits that champion black lives.
Identify what the non-profit needs and determine if your business and skills can fill that need. This requires spending the time necessary to vet and understand the needs of your chosen nonprofit. Ask yourself, do the values of this organization align with my businesses’ values? What are my business’ goals for my employees? What skills can my employees or business bring to the non-profit? How can we help each other? Can the nonprofit use what my business has to offer? How can we turn this idea into well-defined project that can be accomplished through collaboration?
Make the effort understand exactly what your non-profit does and who they serve. Make sure you, as the business owner, have a very clear understanding of the fundamentals of what the non-profit does, how they do it, who they work with, and what need they are addressing. This is called due diligence, and Wick Law can help. Next, to educate and be educated, spend some time explaining the social context to your employees and educate them on the history surrounding the non-profit. Better yet, have a member of the non-profit do the explaining. Make sure you and your employees understand the major challenges faced by the non-profit and those the non-profit seeks to help.
Formalize the relationship by creating and signing a strategic partnership agreement. Outline objectives, respective roles and responsibilities. The leaders from the non-profit and the business should discuss the overall project and provide input and sign a final strategic partnership agreement. An attorney at Wick Law can help you formalize this arrangement, help you with due diligence, help you protect your assets and limit and understand any liability you may take on as a result of the relationship.
Measure for impact as you go. How are you tracking the impact? What metrics are you using to measure successes or failures? Use a combination of assessment tools, like surveying participants, surveying your staff and the staff of the nonprofit. Follow the surveys with in-depth discussion between leaders of the business and the non-profit. Or, there are entire businesses devoted to measurement and performance of non-profits who could help you.
For more information on giving back check out these previous Wick Law posts:
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Wick Law, LLC is a small business legal practice, representing owners, investors, and entrepreneurs in all aspects of commercial, corporate, and business law, estate planning, contracts and negotiations, business litigation, and real estate. For more information: Contact 614-572-6366, visit www.mwicklaw.com, or email us at email@example.com. Wick Law, LLC is located in Columbus, Ohio.
(Materials in this article have been prepared by Wick Law, LLC for general informational purposes only. This list is for educational purposes and is not to be considered exhaustive. More items could be added to this checklist based upon the type of transaction or industry standards. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information provided is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wick Law, LLC or any of the firm’s lawyers. This checklist is not an offer to represent you. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information in this checklist. Wick Law, LLC maintains offices in Columbus, Ohio, and has lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio and in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The firm does not intend to practice law in any jurisdiction where the firm is not licensed.)
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