Published October 10, 2018
As financial advisors, we know how important charitable giving is as part of a holistic financial plan. Yet as a business owner, giving back can often feel counterintuitive; your primary concern is building your bottom line, not taking away from it. We’re here today to point out the benefits of philanthropy work, challenging the traditional view business owners and CEOs have had in the past. Just like charitable giving is an important element in a financial plan, it should be an important element in your financial practice.
The Benefits of Giving Back
Philanthropic efforts are often tied deeply to our own values and personal experiences. When you volunteer for something, it’s usually for a purpose. You’ve either recognized a need or experienced it personally, and this ignites a passion for change. After giving hours of your time or giving tangible assets to an organization, you might be left wondering if there was real value to your sacrifice. Don’t simply look for the obvious! However, you choose to give back has both tangible and intangible benefits for your business. The immediate personal benefit is the opportunity to feel good about how you spent your time dedicated to someone else’s need.
But volunteering or aligning your financial firm with a charitable organization could really impact that bottom line we mentioned. It could lead to new clients, incredibly motivated future employees, and a sense of camaraderie among your team and your clients. Think about this: have you struggled in the past with the traditional cocktail hour networking events, trying to get folks talking with one another? Volunteering or completing a service project can give your employees and clients a chance to rally around something together. It provides a common ground that may be lacking in traditional networking settings. Philanthropic efforts have a way of driving engagement with employees and clients; it fosters a sense of community and selflessness. Get everyone together to assist with local volunteer work and watch your clients and employees build rapport not only with you but also with each other.
You Never Know Who You’ll Meet
There is strength in numbers. By partnering with your clients, employees, and all of their friends, your reach is cast much wider creating an exceptional branding opportunity. Not only does this build an environment for referrals to occur naturally, but your company name will also gain recognition. So often our mission statement or values are only placed in our corporate marketing material or on a page of our websites. Putting action behind what you claim can speak volumes about your corporate culture, giving all involved a measure of pride and trust in your brand. The opportunities are endless, from helping out with the hungry or homeless in your community to volunteering for at-risk children or even serving at a local animal shelter.
Earlier this year we touched on the importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investing, a topic of increasing interest among investors of all ages, but particularly to the younger generation and investors of tomorrow. While this is a complex matter to cover, the takeaway is the fact that today’s consumers are more concerned with investments, and even service-providers, who reflect personal values closely aligned with their own. In the event that a potential client questions you about your firm’s values and core beliefs, do your actions line up with what you say? Philanthropy work is an opportunity to put your money (and time) where your mouth is.
And it’s not just consumers who care. Your employees, especially millennials, want to feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. Providing opportunities to give back can be highly motivating for your team, and can serve as a potential recruitment tool when you are looking for new talent.
How PAG’s Pat Sullivan Gives Back
Recently our Managing Director Pat Sullivan was awarded for his involvement in Good Grief, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children and families cope with grief by providing them with a community of support. He received the Invest in Others Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of his work over the last 14 years. Good Grief helps to “facilitate healthy coping in the lives of more than 500 children each month” through their free programs in New Jersey. Having experienced the loss of his own mother as a young adult, Pat saw the lack of available support and resources firsthand. Beginning with an invitation from a client, Pat’s entire family now volunteers, dedicating their time to these programs.
Feeling inspired? We certainly are. That’s another benefit to any kind of corporate philanthropy; you just might inspire someone else to take action. Take a strategic approach to giving back, whether it’s this quarter or for the New Year coming up. You might be surprised at the value you receive in return.