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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 January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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