A few weeks ago, our Fargo office was a sea of black and white. It was Live United t-shirt day and staff at all levels proudly sported their t-shirts. Why, might you ask, was this so important? Aside from the obvious answer that everyone loves getting their picture taken, it was a testament to a cultural priority. In layman’s terms, Eide Bailly thinks corporate citizenship is pretty cool.
We’re not alone. I know, I know, we talk about numbers a lot here. After all, quite a few of us are accountants. But the numbers behind corporate giving and philanthropy are worth repeating. In 2014 alone, U.S. companies’ charitable contributions totaled $17.77 billion. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the budgets of 22 states. (numbers courtesy of Carlson School of Management)
Corporate giving is a way for corporations to give back to their communities and the people who help them succeed. From donations of dollars to donations of volunteer time, there are a number of ways for organizations to give back.
So what are some of the reasons to consider it?
- It helps you understand the people you work with. What organizations are they involved in outside of work? What causes do they care about? By engaging your employees, you can build a better culture. A recent study found that workers are willing to work harder for less payment when given information on the employers’ engagement in charitable giving programs (thanks again Carlson School of Management).
At Eide Bailly, we have a corporate citizenship initiative that allows our employees to gain matching dollars to the charity of their choice up to a certain amount. This is fairly easy to implement … just make sure you budget for it.
- It keeps you active in your community. Unless you do business in a bubble, you are surrounded by a community which is often vital to your success as an organization. Being actively involved in the community is at the heart of corporate giving. It not only gets your name out, but it shows you care.
Seem overwhelming? You don’t have to do it all. By taking a look at your corporate giving strategy, you can find ways to be actively involved in the community without going too crazy. For instance, we make corporate contributions based on our core business values and then leave the rest up to our employees via the matching program.
- It engages your employees and fosters morale. Take a day and have your employees volunteer together. It can help build teams and boost employee morale.
Can’t give up a whole day? Find creative ways for your employees to be involved, whether it be campaigns, food drives, etc. Our Eide Bailly United Way team held a kickoff event where we heard from organizations impacted by our United Way giving. Then they illustrated our giving for the office by stacking children’s books for every donor and allowed employees to watch the pile grow.
- There are tax deduction benefits. You knew it was coming … after all, we are accountants. Charitable contributions have the potential to qualify as tax deductions against your business’ annual tax liability. To learn more, chat with your tax professional.
The moral of the story? There are some very real benefits to having a corporate giving program in your business, regardless of size. Plus, it just might give you a warm fuzzy feeling that will last long after your turkey, mashed potato and stuffing food coma wears off.