Posted by: danielrashke | February 2, 2018

Social responsibility – holding everyone accountable stands to benefit everyone

shutterstock_106660388Looking back on 2017, there is nothing I am more proud of than TASC’s impact on the community through our employees. Giving — of mind, heart, time, and money — is woven into the fabric of our organization.

In 2017 alone, TASC pledged over $1.5 million in grants to charities, and our employees volunteered over 6,500 hours.

So how did we get to this point?

A culture of giving can create a virtuous cycle for any organization, large or small. Your reputation for community impact will help attract caring, motivated employees, who will dive into your giving programs, creating a highly engaged workforce and incredible impact in your community. At TASC, we use our culture to tell our story, helping us continue to bring in more customers and the best employees.

Philanthropy isn’t just a nice thing to do. It should be part of your business strategy to live at the convergence of social and economic benefit. We approach the movement of corporate social responsibility with esteem. However, our belief is the model should be about shared social responsibility. Meaning, a collective effort exists between employers, employees, and charities. The heavy lift shouldn’t fall solely on the employer – it’s also about engaging the workforce and community.
So many approaches exist to develop a culture of philanthropy that it can be hard to know where to begin. Starting simple, especially if you have limited resources, is all you need. For example, paid volunteer time is a proven way to empower your employees to give back. You can further incentivize a philanthropic mindset by using a program that donates an hourly rate to the organizations your employees volunteer at once they exceed their paid volunteer time – many times referred to as Dollars for Doers.

Modelling philanthropy from the top is another must to ensure the culture is lived out. Volunteering time alone is a great thing. Even more impactful is to give your talent and expertise. When that happens, you’ll see a greater return for everyone, including the volunteer.

This past year, my 10-year term on the board of directors the United Way of Dane County came to an end. During that time I led the 2015 annual campaign to record-breaking success, drawing in $19.54 million in donations. I helped developed strategy and operational plans while serving as chair of the Self-Reliance and Independence Community Solution Team. I created “Your United Way,” a special campaign targeting non-traditional United Way donors to give one-time major gifts. And I showed up again and again — over three years on the Campaign Cabinet, I made more than 125 in-person CEO meetings, media visits, speaking engagements, and recruitment calls.

The United Way has long been a champion of workplace giving, and has helped establish a culture of philanthropy at many companies. I wanted to give my time to the United Way because their approach serves a critical role of taking resources plus thought leadership (both volunteered and paid); together those two things equal a more significant impact together than they would on their own in solving some of society’s greatest needs through our communities.

Anyone can create this kind of culture in the workplace. You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to help shoulder the burden of our shared social responsibility. Even if you’re a pint-sized operation with just five employees, you can start with one volunteer day, or one donation matching program, or offer a service in-kind.

That’s how we built the incredible culture of giving that we have here at TASC. We didn’t start out with a dozen programs, but we added programs as our success in the industry grew and our employees multiplied.

As we move further into 2018, I’d like to leave you with one thought.

If not you, then who? We all share the responsibility of caring for our communities. We cannot shrug it off and leave it to companies that are big enough, or profitable enough, or to nonprofits, or to the government. We need to join hands and give our time, our money, our hearts, and our minds.


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