A few things happened at the ISPA Conference in October 2015 that got me thinking about a corporation’s responsibility to give back. The first thing was Scott Harrison’s (CEO, charity: water) moving presentation at the General Session. A shockingly up close look at what men, women and children are dealing with on an everyday basis across the globe. It is hard to watch a presentation like that and not be compelled to do something; I would say most people in that room felt moved to action as his speech came to a close. But, I really wanted to be a part of a group that actually did something about it.
The next thing was listening to the incredible ideas that were granted an ISPA Innovate Award for 2015. Five out of the seven ideas that were presented were related to charity and giving back. As the Conference concluded, I really wanted to come back to my company and share this feeling I had, the feeling that, “we have to do something to give back.”
With the help of a few of my colleagues, WTS International launched a 2016 charity initiative called, WELLness Begins with Water. The initiative’s mission: to deliver clean, safe drinking water to developing nations. WTS is aiming to raise for charity: water in partnership with its managed facilities, as well as corporately and through partnerships with selected preferred vendors. In addition, WTS will also work with the Green Spa Network on the development of protocols and recommendations aimed at significantly reducing the number of plastic water bottles and cups used at WTS-managed spa, fitness and lifestyle facilities.
Here are three notions to consider when implementing the idea of “giving back” into your company.
1. Meeting customer expectation
Customers are looking and researching company’s stance on subject matters like this, now more than ever. This is now a way to distinguish yourself from the competition. They are looking for the companies to be open and honest about their animal testing practices, recycling protocols, community involvement, etc. If you are not openly advertising your stance on these items, customers will assume you are “hiding” something. Transparency from the corporation is now a standard expectation from the customer. Customers want to feel good about where they are spending their money.
2. Press opportunities
While this point may seem selfish, giving back to the community should be looked at as an amazing press opportunity for the company. Charity involvement, fundraising events, launching new initiatives are all great ways to gain press in the media. Teaming up with other organizations helps with your exposure as well. If a company is dedicating their time and resources to giving back, there is nothing wrong with seeing how they can spin that to help grow their business. Don’t forget to advertise your results and impacts as well!
3. Nurture your employees
This goes back to the overall idea that it is the responsibility of corporations to initiate community involvement. The corporation is a leader in the community and will be setting an example for their employees as well as their clients and customers. Some companies are giving extra time off to their employees to use for volunteering at their favorite organization. This is an amazing way to show how important your company considers this movement. Volunteering will also increase your employee’s work-life balance, and give them a sense of fulfillment in their careers. The new generations have an increased expectation of how their company will incorporate a positive work-life balance, and this is an effective way to do that.
Business Development Manager
WTS International, Inc.