Should volunteerism be considered a vital part of an advisory firm’s business strategy? The answer is, unequivocally, yes.
The benefits of community service obviously extend far beyond business. Service in a community touches lives and provides participants with a powerful sense of giving back and helping those in need. But creating a culture of service at a firm has surprising rewards for a practice, too.
For instance, 82% of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop, according to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research.
Millennials especially prize companies that give back. Forbes recently reported that 55% of millennials consider a company’s volunteer policies when deciding whether to accept a job offer.
At my firm, Massey Quick, a small group of staff members sits on a committee that identifies which organizations will benefit from the firm’s annual community service day. Although founding partners of the firm have final approval, they aren’t on the committee, and they look to the employees to recommend worthy causes.
Experience has taught us that empowering staff members to provide input helps get the entire team involved and excited to participate.
FROM THE GROUND UP
Half the employees at our firm are under 30, and we want to empower younger team members to voice suggestions and have an impact on the firm.
It was one of our younger advisors who, a few years ago, suggested we close our offices for one day each year to participate in a community service day. We loved the idea and ran with it. In 2014, our staff spent a day working on a new house for a chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Last year, our team put together a field day for kids.
Our events take many forms, and there’s something for everyone to feel engaged by. For example, we host the Massey Quick annual charitable golf outing to raise funds for various local charitable organizations. We bring together our business associates, partners and investment managers for a fun day on the course to benefit local charities. The event has raised nearly $300,000 since its inception.
Firms considering similar efforts should start by looking internally. Talk to your employees and find out what causes or organizations are near and dear to their hearts, so they are inspired to participate in a firmwide effort.
Secondly, consider how the firm will be giving back — through volunteer time or committing to raise funds on behalf of the organization, or a combination of both? Whichever is decided is best for the business, make sure it’s easy for employees to access and participate in.
CULTURE OF GIVING
All these efforts have created closer team unity and a family feeling at our firm. We also take volunteerism into consideration when hiring employees. We want people who fit our culture, so we look at potential employees who are well-rounded and for whom charitable giving is important.
And, incidentally, clients notice; if employees feel good about giving and happy about their workplace culture, odds are the firm will have happy clients, too.
Joe Belfatto is a managing partner of Massey Quick, a wealth management and investment consulting firm in Morristown, N.J.
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