An Investment You Can Trust By Michelle Durner, Special to LocalTechWire.com Company leaders must constantly evaluate the ROI on system-wide programs and initiatives. Things that were once considered simply a good business practice, like community and philanthropic involvement, are today considered an investment. After all, in business, what is more valuable than your time and money? Yet, community involvement remains one investment whose power can never be underestimated. True involvement in charitable programs is still one of the easiest methods to increase corporate awareness, recruit and retain employees, and give back to the community that supports you. Common sense dictates that philanthropic involvement is a feel-good, easy way to positively position your company with shareholders, investors, customers and employees. Not only does your involvement improve your image with those who have a vested interest, but it is also a good way to generate positive media coverage for your company. More importantly, community involvement can do wonders for employee morale which can lead to higher productivity and a team-focused, enjoyable work environment. In addition, coming together for a common cause promotes teamwork and the desire to learn new skills and practices. Many companies use workplace philanthropic programs to retain their employees and even recruit new ones. Job-seekers are often attracted to companies that give back to their communities, and allow personal time away from the office for volunteering. In fact, 58% of companies use their employee volunteer programs for recruiting and retaining employees, according to the Corporate Volunteer Program as a Strategic Resource. Your involvement doesn’t just benefit your company and employees, ultimately, the organization in which you are supporting has a better success rate because of your goodwill and generosity – you have opened the doors for them to get their message out. In addition, your company’s involvement may have helped them reach their own goals, whether it’s increasing their volunteer base, community support or in-kind and/or monetary donations. Obviously donating corporate time and money to community involvement is a win-win situation, however there are literally hundreds of credible organizations in your community that want and need your support. How do you choose the right one for your business? Nearly 82% of corporations focus their employee volunteer programs on core business functions. (i.e.: those in the real estate business start out with programs such as Habitat for Humanity). In addition, programs that are directly related to the community in which you are based, or programs that are universal to all businesses and lifestyles, are also great places to start looking. The good thing is that any non-profit you choose to support will be appreciative and eager for your involvement. It may sound cliché but getting your employees and company name out into the community can be one way to achieve your corporate mission. It allows everyone – your company, employees, and the community itself – to win. But just remember that with community involvement, just like with the many important things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Source: Corporate Volunteer Program as a Strategic Resource Michelle Durner, president of Durham-based healthcare services company Applied Medical Services. She has implemented the “Make a Difference” employee program for non-profit involvement at her company. She can be reached at [email protected].