Although accountants and bookkeepers are focused on calculating cost and profit, we can be quite caring and compassionate when given the opportunity. But as the Dalai Lama said, “It is not enough to be compassionate–you must act.” Here are several ways your firm can channel care and compassion into actionable support and involvement in your local community.
It does you good to do good
When you give back to your community, you’re not just supporting your community’s success, but also the success of your firm. The 2021 PwC Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey found that 53% of consumers chose to support companies that demonstrated their social values in tangible ways. A 2019 survey by Aflac found that 77% of consumers and 73% of investors were highly interested in buying from and supporting companies that demonstrated corporate social responsibility.
This term, corporate social responsibility, is a 360º turn from the “we just make money” mantra touted by companies in past decades. Now people are demanding companies become agents of positive change and fund efforts to make our world a better place.
Support causes or charities in your local community
When we think of donating to charities, it’s easy to immediately jump to well-known efforts, but there may be opportunities that are closer to you. For example, our firm just recently supported a local Toys For Toys drive through our local California Society of CPAs chapter. If you can’t think of any local charities in your area, visit greatnonprofits.org; you can enter your city and support a cause or charity in your local area, from your local library and food banks to homeless shelters and community service centers.
Give the one thing you can never get back
We often jump to monetary support when we think of giving back to our community, but let’s not forget that we can also volunteer our time and labor. For example, Wolf and Company participated in an effort run by the Be Like Brit Foundation to build three Haitian homes. The firm's CEO, Mark O'Connell, offered the following three tips for firms who want to volunteer without sacrificing client work:
- Designate a team leader(s) to organize the effort: As your firm leader, it’s tempting to jump into the managerial role of any firm activity, but as Mark said, "If you get two or three employees to be on the philanthropy committee and help organize, you are giving them a leadership opportunity and doing good things for the community."
- Plan volunteer activities around the busy season or staff workload: Work with your team leaders to establish a set of dates that do not interfere with the staff’s output for clients or slow your firm down during busy season.
- Make it fun: We normally spend a lot of time at our desks, so try to plan charity efforts that get people outside and away from their usual space. Consider joining local clean-up projects, walkathons, or similar endeavors.
Key resources to help you do good for your community:
- VolunteerMatch: Similar to the Great Nonprofits’ website, this website helps you find opportunities to volunteer locally or virtually.
- Charity Navigator: Type in a cause or charity into the search bar and you’ll get a list of results that includes great causes, charities, and even current emergency relief efforts.
- Bold.org: College student debt has increasingly made headlines as a pressing issue, but Bold has a winning solution. On Bold’s website, you can create scholarships, fellowships, and grants for the causes and people you want to support as a firm.
The best firms are agents of positive change
While money and career success are great things to have, they aren’t the best determinants of my success. Rather, I’ve learned to measure my personal success by the amount of positive impact I have on those around me, whether it’s my family, team, or local community. I hope this article helps you turn your firm into an agent of positive change within your local community.