Back in 2000, when we were drafting Klausing Group's first strategic plan, it was decided that "giving back" needed to be a formal part of the company's approach to doing business.We had participated in volunteer projects and donated money here and there but only did so when opportunities presented themselves. We were not consistent or deliberate. Then, the idea for 5% for the Community came.
There are three elements every successful corporate giving program must have:
It must be easy.
It must be consistent.
It must have purpose.
Do you listen to public radio? I do. When there's a pledge drive, I usually donate but, sometimes I forget. When our local public radio station started offering "sustaining memberships," I signed right up. Sustaining members support public radio through monthly credit card charges which eliminates the need to participate in pledge drives. They made giving easy.
Since I was in sixth grade, I've been fond of Patagonia, Inc., an outdoor clothing and gear design company. Patagonia has a corporate giving program called 1% for the Planet. The company donates 1% of revenue to environmental causes it supports around the world. Committing to donate 1% of revenue is consistent.
Patagonia stands out to me for more than their consistency and that's the final element that helped complete the idea for 5% for the Community. Not only is Patagonia consistent but, they give to something they believe in. Their contributions go towards protecting our planet's wild places. Without wild places to explore, their products have no use. Their corporate giving program has purpose.
We're landscape managers. Because it's what we do, it’s easy for us to do more of it. Committing to donating 5% of profits to the effort allows us to be consistent. All we needed to make 5% for the Community work was to identify a purpose.
At that time, a friend's mom was the executive director of the Living Arts & Science Center. The Center sits on about an acre of land in the heart of downtown Lexington and it occurred to me that landscape maintenance was probably an expense she would be happy to be relieved of. Donating grounds maintenance services would not only improve the aesthetics of the property but it would relieve them of an expense and allow them to provide more services to the community they serve. It was a win win.
Since 2001, we've donated hundreds of thousands of dollars of landscape maintenance services through 5% for the Community. We’re most proud of the benefit the community has gained from our efforts. One beneficiary, God’s Pantry, provides an additional $45,000 of meals each year throughout Kentucky, because they are able to redirect the expense that 5% for the Community eliminated. And, their grounds look better than ever.
Does your company have corporate giving program? Do you run a conscious business? If you don't, you should. It’s easy to give. It’s easy to create a model that drives consistent giving. And, I'm certain you're passionate about something that could use your gift.
Want to learn more about 1% for the Planet? Click here… http://onepercentfortheplanet.org/