Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This philosophy runs deep at KeyBank, where we find our truest selves in the service of our local communities.
In fact, KeyBank was recently recognized by Points of Light as one of America’s 50 most community-minded companies — for the ninth consecutive time. The Civic 50 provides a national standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how companies can use their time, skills, and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company.
While this kind of recognition is nice, our reasons for committing ourselves to our local communities have nothing to do with the accolades or attention we get. We give generously of our time, talents and money because successful partnerships between businesses and nonprofits are the key to building successful communities. We give back because it’s the right thing to do, and to be honest, we do it because it feels amazing to do even a small part to contribute to the greater good.
But giving back doesn’t always look like big companies writing out big checks. It takes all of us — large companies, small businesses, individuals and selfless nonprofit organizations — to help our most underserved and vulnerable populations overcome the challenges that have been set before them and to build thriving, engaged communities where we all want to live, play and work.
Small businesses, mid-sized businesses, and even families and individuals have an important role to play in community giving. Determining the best way to make the biggest impact can seem daunting — but it doesn’t have to be.
Narrow your focus
Deciding where, when and how to give is the first step toward meaningful giving. It’s important to determine a giving strategy, and ideally one with your employees’ interests in mind. Uncovering what is meaningful to them, whether through casual conversations or more formal surveying, is an effective way to engage them in the process and start to prioritize.
The KeyBank Foundation has identified three “pillars” of giving: neighbors, education and the workforce. Start by developing your own pillars. Determine what’s important to you, to your employees and the culture of your organization, and build your giving strategy around those causes.
Give in ways that work for you
While every nonprofit needs funding to survive, there are many ways to give back that don’t involve making a financial commitment. Volunteering time for a specific cause is equally valuable and provides a meaningful way for your employees to put their abilities to use.
Serving on nonprofit boards or committees is another important way to contribute. The valuable donation of time gives nonprofit organizations access to highly qualified leaders, while fostering an “external” focus within companies, enabling staff members to concentrate on more than just their job, but rather on the diverse issues and challenges in our communities.
Feel good about giving
While there are definitely business benefits to corporate philanthropy, the most significant benefits of giving back are intrinsic. It feels good. It brings people together. And at the end of the day, it helps build stronger, better communities in which we can live our lives and raise our families.
If you’ve been contemplating how to give back, I hope you’ll take the leap. It’s ok to start small, just start. Because every little bit counts.
Phil Muscato is Market President and Commercial Sales Leader with KeyBank in Rochester. He may be reached by phone at 585-238-4159 or email at [email protected].
Any opinions, projections or recommendations contained herein are subject to change without notice and are not intended as individual investment advice. This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice. KeyBank does not provide legal advice. KeyBank is Member FDIC. KeyCorp.© 2022.CFMA #220929-1745080
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