Growing up my father always talked about having a sense of balance. What he meant was that when you were fortunate, you needed to balance out the scales and help someone else get ahead.
He was a real role model for me, always supporting the underdog. He’d grown up on the “wrong side of the tracks” and never forgot his humble beginnings. It wasn’t until he died that I learned just how generous he’d been. You could say he was a dragon before we had the den, lending money to people starting a business.
With giving back in my DNA, it should come as no surprise that it is also an integral part of Company of Women. Over the years we have supported numerous charities – Opportunity International, Girls Inc, Because I am a Girl, World Teacher Aid to name but a few, as well as scholarships for women entering the skilled trades. The common thread is that they all focused on women and girls.
And that makes senses. When you are picking the organization or cause you want to support, there should be a strong tie or link to what your business does. For example, if you are in real estate, perhaps Habitat for Humanity fits the bill. Or if you are in the beauty industry, Look Good, Feel Good, a program for cancer patients might be a good fit.
We once had a speaker, who armed with copies of SNAP, got the women in the audience to check through the paper to see if there were local causes or events that they could get behind. That isn’t a bad place to start, but make sure you do your homework on the cause selected, because not all charities are created equal.
As well as the business fit, there may well be a cause that tugs at your heartstrings. Perhaps a disease has inflicted someone in your family and you want to help raise funds for a cure, research or support for families.
You might want to get your feet wet and just dip a toe into the cause-related pool. See how that goes. Working on a smaller project, gives you a chance to see how well the organization functions. How much of the funds raised go towards the actual recipients, and how much is swallowed up in administration? Who is on their board? How many staff is involved? These are good questions to ask.
This year we have chosen to get behind the Canadian Women’s Foundation, and particularly their program aimed at young girls and how they feel about themselves. I am excited about this partnership, and particularly interested in their As We Are Project
Still need convincing that giving back is a sound business decision? Putting sentiment aside, it earns you brownie points with customers and staff alike. People, especially millennials, like to work for a company that takes corporate responsibility seriously. It gains you credibility with your client base and bottom line; it fees good to be doing good.