One of my top priorities as an entrepreneur has always been to build a giving-oriented company that serves as an example of what it means to be invested in the community. This is a topic I’m passionate about, as I believe doing good helps the community and feeds a positive corporate culture. By establishing trust and a solid reputation, ultimately, goodwill to the community contributes to the success of your company.
A Focused Approach is Best Early On: When deciding how you will integrate social responsibility and giving into your company, it is important to map out a program to support this activity, long-term. One of the best ways to build on philanthropic work is to focus on one or two beneficiaries for the company as a whole. Often, startups can barely afford support staff let alone donate much money. By limiting the focus, you can have a greater impact while keeping overall company-sponsored charitable activity lighter so that your employees do not feel overwhelmed with the number of events to participate in throughout the year. In our early years, we’ve typically tried to have one or two events per quarter.
Philanthropy Contributes to Your Culture
Beyond the benefit to your community, philanthropic activity can also significantly enhance your corporate culture. It allows for opportunities to build relationships both within your company and across your industry. Building company culture is all about building relationships and respect, and charitable or community activity is great for team building. For example, whether you host an internal fundraiser or gather a group to clean up a community park, the activity requires individuals to interact across department, encouraging employees to get to know each other on a different level.
At the same time that we foster our corporate philanthropy, SailPoint also makes a point to encourage and allow our people to take time off for their own charitable projects. This creates balance for employees to remain dedicated to their own personal causes while feeling good about contributing to the company’s efforts.
Social Responsibility Attracts and Retains Talent
Providing opportunities for community involvement can also help attract and retain talent. I have found this to be especially true for our Millennials, a very socially aware group who expects their employers to give back to the communities they serve. My experience has taught me that when you bring people onto your team who care about the community, they are more likely to get passionate about the work you are doing and the team you’ve built. A dedication to helping a community thrive translates to a dedication in seeing our company grow and thrive, and to making our community a better place.
As an entrepreneur, I have always worked to creatively solve problems, build great companies and most importantly, work with talented, committed and humble people. As you think about how to become a community-minded, socially aware company, you need to be authentic in your actions. Get out there and plant a tree, serve a meal, or paint something, and spend time with your team outside the office. You might just be surprised what you learn about your teammates, and you’ll learn just how good it can feel to serve those less fortunate.