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The Ripple Effect of Giving

If you’re a savvy marketer, you recognize that businesses, both big and small, who give back to their communities can get positive press from those efforts. While that’s nice, the deeper impact of giving is much more important than the temporary PR lift. And the beauty is that companies of all sizes can do it…

National Life is a mid-size insurance company with campuses in Montpelier, Vermont and Dallas, Texas. We’re fortunate to have a charitable foundation that enables us to financially support nonprofits. One recent donation was historic for us: our foundation gifted a half million dollars to Let’s Grow Kids to help them provide Vermont families with high-quality, affordable childcare.

For larger insurance companies, this donation was a fraction of their overall giving. To us, however, it was monumental. Since March of 2020, the need for childcare hit close to home as we watched single parents and families desperately try to juggle homeschooling and work.  Pre-pandemic, we recognized that when we recruited potential candidates from out of state, there was often a need for childcare if they had younger children. In Vermont, the waiting list can be a year or longer.

Sure, our donation will support our own team members and recruiting efforts. But the ripple of this gift extends beyond our walls. By supporting the childcare industry and helping workers receive a fair wage, it benefits the overall economy.  Some childcare facilities also provide the children nutritious food. Since National Life has a cause to help end childhood hunger in Vermont, this is also important to us.

On the surface, our donation to Let’s Grow Kids is a vote of confidence in their work. When you dig deeper though, it’s an investment in our current and future workforce as well as in the future of Vermont.

What if your organization doesn’t have a Foundation or a budget for charitable giving? No worries. There are many creative ways you can give back.

For example, National Life drops $1000 into their employees’ dependent care accounts at the beginning of the year to use towards child or elder care. We had flexible schedules for employees before the pandemic hit so parents could manage family obligations. And we own a building on our campus that we insisted be a childcare center for the community.

Here are some other options to consider:

  • Lawson’s Finest Liquids pays its employees a livable wage and offers generous benefits so that all tips go to local nonprofits.
  • Consider in-kind donations. For example, if your company has gently used laptops or computers but is upgrading, donate your old ones to organizations who might need them for telehealth appointments. As many people still feel anxiety about returning to normal, telehealth appointments will remain an option.   
  • Empower your employees to volunteer. Even an hour or two a month can make a difference for a small nonprofit. And it could be a great team building opportunity.
  • Set up drives to support causes. Food drives or necessities drives (toiletries, cleaning items) can provide much needed support for those who are struggling. Not only can your company help immediately, it can also benefit from the exposure if you host the drive at your location.

Companies who give back often have higher employee engagement.  They also typically have increased brand loyalty.  At National Life, our past few quarters have been record breaking. Is this directly tied to the good we do in our communities? That’s hard to quantify but there is an arguable correlation between our giving and our sales. And it’s something we have no intention of changing.