What does Good look like?
Author: Kate Bolton, Ambassador, CIM FS Group
Exploring the ways organisations can put generosity at the heart of doing business
Awards season is upon us and Comms for Good has again partnered with Fintech Futures to create a Paytech for Good category at their annual Paytech for Good awards. It's such a positive experience to go through the different entries and learn about the programmes different organisations have put in place to support charity and community.
When I read through the entries for this award, I look for organisations that can demonstrate strategic commitment to tackling social issues and are developing innovative ways to engage employees in supporting the local community. I am also keen to see examples of collaboration with industry peers to deliver maximum, sustainable impact for charitable causes. This might sound like a big ask, and perhaps too much to expect from the average commercially-orientated business in any sector, let alone Financial Services. But really it just requires a simple mindset shift, based on the understanding that we are part of the same connected world, and that by helping others we are actually helping ourselves – and by extension, our businesses too.
The very human values of connection, collaboration, and generosity need not be confined to our home lives, indeed they form part of most organisations' vision statements. But the idea of weaving these traits into the way we do business can sometimes be approached as an after-thought, a box-ticking exercise. Through Comms for Good, I aim to shine a light on companies that are successfully demonstrating great commitment to these values and inspire others to follow their lead.
Acting ‘for Good’ need not always be about a large-scale CSR initiative, however; extra resources and budget are not always required. Once you get into the mindset, there are many simple ways for an organisation to weave generosity into the way they do business. Here are some good examples:
• Need insight or feedback? You could offer a charity donation incentive to encourage your audience to complete your survey. Document sharing tech company, Pushfor, did this recently
• Selling event tickets? Offer to donate £x of ticket sales to charity at your next corporate event, or offer a 'charity plus sponsorship package' for event sponsors. Or follow FinTech Talents’ lead by offering a charity some free space to exhibit at your event
• Exhibiting at a conference? Spend your 'corporate giveaway' budget on branded charity donation gift cards and put them in your delegate bags in place of the pens and golf balls. The charity-tech company, For Good Causes, can help with this
• A night out? Entertain your clients or business partners or host your team building night at a charity fundraising event - charities regularly run quiz nights, comedy shows, and dinners in fun settings. It will probably work out cheaper than a restaurant, and be much more worthwhile
• Promoting a book or whitepaper? Offer to donate proceeds to a good cause. Fintech, Bud, are doing just that with their Open Banking book launch
• Team training and development - do you offer charity volunteering days? (This idea is my personal favourite). Incentivise your employees to make the most of volunteering days by making them part of their personal development goals. Use this time as an opportunity for staff to develop new skills, for example, by designing a fundraising campaign or event for a charity, or delivering a TED-style talk or blog about their volunteering experience
• Offer your meeting room or event space to a non-profit that needs it – I recently helped a charity find office space for a team training day, which saved them £££. It’s also worth looking at the Ethical Angel platform for a more formalized approach to matching your resources with charity needs.
I could carry on with this list, but actually what I’d really like is to hear some other ideas and examples of organisations finding new ways (big and small) of integrating generosity into the way they do business. Please do share via @commsgood or via the CIM Financial Services Group.