As our global marketplace becomes more social media-driven and, inevitably, more socially conscious, charitable contributions are playing an outsized role in the way major corporations and online start-ups alike are perceived by their clientele and by their employees. The notion of a major industry giving back to society is as old as Andrew Carnegie, but modern businesses are finding new ways of reaching out to their customers and their workers by rewarding the better angels of our nature. Ira Riklis discusses how one company is choosing to be more socially conscious.
Rewards For Being Socially Conscious
Experticity is a small Utah-based company that specializes in helping brands and retailers better connect with their audiences by providing consultation services drawn from its diverse staff of experts. With a grand total of 240 full-time employees, it might seem surprising that Experticity can afford to reward its workers with $2,000 vacations for small charitable contributions. But so vital is the spirit of giving to CEO Tom Stockham that he has sent employees to places as far-flung as Kenya, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nepal, all for donating as little as five dollars to a charity of their choice.
The company broke ground on the program in 2016 and at first, it took the form of a small-scale lottery. By popular demand, Experticity has now extended the offer to all of its employees. Currently, a full third of Experticity’s employees participate in the program. For those who are willing to make donations and are fortunate enough to receive a grant, Experticity covers the full cost of the expedition package (an impressive $2,195), and even splurges for airfare, hotels, transportation, and living expenses.
Motivations Behind Charitable Contributions
What are the corporate motivations behind this sort of philanthropy? In other words, what does Experticity get out of the deal? Per CFO Heather Mercier, the program “will create bonds between people” and is “absolutely the right thing to do.” Nevertheless, if we’re to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that corporations do not exist to give money away. Corporations exist to make money. How does charitable giving fit into the business world?
The fact of the matter is that corporate giving is very good for business, and the evidence bears this out. Small businesses and major corporations both stand to gain by giving a little to those in need. As stated by Fortune magazine, companies that give “build respect and a good reputation in the community.” By reaching out to local charities in their own backyard, corporations can initiate a dialogue with the people and the community leaders who live right next door. This sort of networking can form long-lasting bonds that benefit both parties. Local leaders and citizens can play a role in steering the company in a more socially conscious direction, and the company itself can reward its employees with the knowledge that they are making a positive difference in their own community. Though corporations are not people, their employees certainly are, and those workers stand to benefit from the improved local atmosphere that can result from a healthy corporate/charity relationship.
Giving Corporate Morale A Boost
Nobody likes to work for a soulless conglomerate. Charitable giving significantly boosts corporate morale. Employees who feel good about what they’re doing are more likely to stay with their company and are more likely to work hard while they’re there. By rewarding employees with the opportunity to give back to their community and by providing them with support, companies make work feel less like work, and more like contributing to a greater cause.
Companies that network with charitable organizations are better connected with leaders, thinkers, innovators, and society as a whole. By tapping into this pool of good-hearted, hardworking people, companies can recruit new talent. A company is only as good as its employees, and any corporation would benefit from taking on the sort of selfless individuals who devote their free time to charitable organizations.
As social media continues to alter our private and public landscapes, the line between our corporate lives and our lives within the community becomes more and more blurred. Companies like Experticity are setting the tone when it comes to exploring ways in which we can work to make a living at the same time we work to make our world a better place.