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How To Add Philanthropy To Your Business And Create A Win-Win

How To Add Philanthropy To Your Business And Create A Win-Win

Consumers are looking more and more to buy from socially responsible and philanthropic businesses. The Cone Cause Evolution study found that “83% of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes.”

TOMS Shoes is just one example of a business following this model. By giving away a pair of shoes for every pair they’ve sold, TOMS has undoubtedly increased their bottom line, while giving away over 10 million pairs of shoes.

But it’s not only for large businesses with a sophisticated plan for corporate giving. More businesses could (and should) make a greater impact, as well as increase their their bottom line, by integrating philanthropy into their business model. Here’s why and how.

Your business will stand out from competitors

As mentioned above, customers latch on to powerful stories that involve social movements. Incorporating this into your business makes customers feel good about buying from you. Every time they do, they’re helping a cause.

Customers may be more loyal when they know this, too. The Cone Cause study above explains, “Forty-one percent of Americans say they have bought a product because it was associated with a cause or issue in the last year.” Businesses supporting causes clearly have an edge when they incorporate important causes and issues their customers care about.

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Motivation for employees

According to the Cone study, “Employees who are very involved in their company’s cause program are 28 percent more likely to be proud of their company’s values and 36 percent more likely to feel a strong sense of loyalty than those who are not involved.”

If employees feel their work is meaningful and makes a difference, they may work harder. Incorporating a giving program where employees are involved may create a more engaged and motivated workforce, which benefits both charity and your own bottom line.

Save on taxes

Depending on how you incorporate philanthropy into your business, you may be able to take a tax deduction. This is often true if you’re supporting a certified charitable organization.

The Small Business Association lists what you can write off, which includes:

  • Money. Cash contributions to charitable organizations are typically deductible.
  • Donation of goods. You can typically deduct the value of any goods you donate, including products you sell.
  • Volunteering. While you can’t deduct for the value of your time, other expenses can be deducted.

There may be even more tax deduction opportunities, so be sure to check with a tax accountant on what you can deduct.

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More media coverage

Erin Giles, a business owner and proponent of turning your business into a movement, received major media coverage just one year into launching her business. With Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, Forbes.com, USA Today, and other major publications picking up her story, she was able to both further her business as well as her philanthropic movement, End Sex Trafficking Day.

While you don’t want to do good only to take advantage of press, it’s another nice bonus to giving back.

You’ll feel good

There’s something powerful about helping a cause. To start, if you’ve ever felt good after giving, that’s no surprise. This study from the Harvard Business School found giving to charity can make you happier.

If you read the title and decided to read this article, you likely agree with me that helping the world is an awesome feeling. But why limit it just to our personal lives? Integrating philanthropy into business can make your impact much more powerful and your work more rewarding, too.

How to do more with philanthropy

Once you’ve made the decision to include more philanthropy, you need a plan to do it right to really achieve a win-win.

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Share your story

While giving to charity and talking about it might seem tacky or like you’re bragging, I don’t buy this if you’re truly genuine in wanting to help. By talking about it more, you’ll hopefully garner even greater support.

Communicate to customers and clients clearly what you’re doing and why. Who are you helping?

Don’t use weak language like, “We donate a portion of all revenue to charity.” That’s boring and unlikely to get much support from anyone. Consumers want to know more about the charities you’re supporting, so give them all the details you can. Who are you supporting? How are you supporting them? And most importantly, why are you doing it? Outline all these things clearly in your marketing.

Pick a cause related to your business

Picking your cause is much more powerful if it already relates to what you’re doing. TOMS shoes didn’t decide to give away free t-shirts for a reason. Their business is shoes, so that’s what they give.

Customers likely already have some sort of attachment to the product you sell, and doing something related to that can mean they’ll care more about the cause you’re supporting, too.

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Be genuine in making an impact

While incorporating philanthropy can help your bottom line, that’s not the only objective. Don’t launch a philanthropic campaign for selfish reasons. Customers can sniff out fakes.

Some campaigns we’ve seen by large businesses just aren’t as convincing to me, especially when they exploit “cause marketing” merely to benefit their bottom line.

Maybe their intentions were good, but you still need to be careful it doesn’t come off as a marketing ploy. Go all-out in your efforts to support charity, and everyone will win at the end of the day.

Has your business incorporated philanthropy? If yes, how?

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How To Add Philanthropy To Your Business And Create A Win-Win

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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