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<March 2015>



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How To Create A Culture Of Caring At Your Company

By Thomas J. Shara

How To Create A Culture Of CaringFostering a “Culture of Caring” or “Corporate Giving” program at your organization is good for your employees, the community and your business. Especially when your employees are engaged in the process and help choose the programs and the beneficiaries. At Lakeland Bank, we’ve been giving back since the day we opened our doors over 40 years ago, and our colleagues are an integral part of the Bank’s philanthropy efforts. If your business is looking to establish a program, then you are in good company because giving back is on the rise for businesses of all sizes according to recent data.

Forbes Insights, a source of primary research designed to support both strategic and tactical decisions for business executives, studied corporate philanthropy from 2009 – 2011 and found that corporate giving is nearly back to prerecession levels. The study revealed that:
  • Median total giving was $24.4 million, which is slightly, less than 2010 levels ($24.6 million) but well above 2009 ($22.6 million).
  • 60 percent of companies increased their total giving since 2009.
  • 48 percent of companies increased their giving by more than 10 percent.
The study also found that while reasons to give back vary from business goals to community goals at various companies, common tenants of Corporate Social Responsibility programs (CSR) include:
  • Meaningful involvement for your employees
  • Positive effects on the community and your company’s place in it
  • Distinguishing your company from your competitors
  • Recruitment benefits
  • Positive philanthropic and business impact
Forbes Insights also cited the rewards of giving back in the charts below.

Tips to Create a Culture of Caring at Your Company

No business is too small to have a giving program. Creating a culture of caring presents opportunities within your workplace as well as providing a social benefit. Here are a few tips to get started giving back at your company.
  1. Form a committee to write a mission statement, set goals and define objectives.
  2. Assess community needs and choose causes that resonate with both employees and the community-at-large.
  3. Define the parameters of the program.
  4. Allocate resources and educate managers on the benefits of the program. Get their emotional and tactical buy-in.
  5. Senior management must lead by example.
  6. Plan, promote and execute your special event or project.
  7. Track results, share your success with the company and community, and reward colleagues for participation.

Global Examples of Corporate Giving

Many global companies have wonderful and wide-reaching programs. Here are some efforts from three that were highlighted in the Forbes Insights report to give you some ideas of what is possible.

Eli Lilly and Company, MasterCard and Hewlett-Packard

With its “Connecting Hearts Abroad” program, Eli Lilly sent volunteer ambassadors all around the world to provide hands-on support in four categories: health care; caregiving for children and the elderly; teaching; and community development. In return, the company learns more about different cultures which helps them be more effective in their global business landscape.

MasterCard also forges important ties that foster commerce by providing and blending financial expertise with domestic and international community relationships. For example, they teach, coach and mentor students in classroom settings on how to create and run a business.

Hewlett-Packard - the largest technology company in the world with more than 320,000 employees and offices in over 170 countries - provides solutions to some of the world’s largest problems in global health, education and entrepreneurship. Their method of creating shared values is to connect progress with societal needs. For example, HP is “helping to fund a stimulated multimedia company at a school in Brazil and bringing laptops to students in Chennai, India, who normally wouldn’t have access to computers.”

Giving to the Local Community is Equally Rewarding

At Lakeland Bank, our mission is to support the people and businesses in the local communities we serve, and to strengthen our ties where our colleagues and customers work, live and play. It is the very essence of our community bank.
More than $430,000 was donated by Lakeland Bank and its colleagues in 2012. These funds helped local divisions of national charities, supported neighborhood youth athletic leagues, fire departments and Rotary Clubs plus offered scholarships for students in pursuit of higher education. Our donations ranged from $50 for PTA fundraisers to more than $20,000 for health care initiatives at area hospitals.

People love to support what they care about and we love to support our colleagues’ passions and the needs of the community. The desire for a casual Friday dress code inspired our Jeans Day Program in which employees contribute a $10 monthly donation to participate, recommend their favorite charities as donation recipients, and collectively vote for the charities that will receive the donations. In 2012, organizations including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, SCARC and the ARC of NJ and Animal Shelters received contributions from the $30,000 raised by this program.

Throughout the year, Lakeland Bank staff members volunteer at non-profit events such as Paterson’s Habitat for Humanity Corporate Challenge or at Eva’s Village and the Center for Food Action in NJ. These opportunities enhance team building and colleague motivation. Many other staff members appreciate that our corporate contribution program makes monetary donations to support their personal participation in events like the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Morris Habitat for Humanity’s Bike and Hike, and the Metro YMCAs Strong Kids Campaign.

Golf is another great way to bring the community and our employees together for great causes. For 40 years, our Annual Scholarship Golf Outing has provided over $1 million in scholarships to help local students with the expense of a higher education. And for 31 years, we have hosted the Sussex County Golf Classic to support not-for-profit organizations like CASA of Sussex & Morris County, Domestic Abuse Services, K.E.E.P., Inc. and Literacy Volunteers of America that serve the County and surrounding communities.

We are proud of our colleagues and our partners in the community who together make a difference and help those in need.

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