Businesses see benefits to connecting workers with the larger community

Companies have long recognized that giving back to the communities where they are located is a smart business move. From sponsoring a Little League baseball team to endowing a new hospital wing, corporate philanthropy elevates a company’s reputation while giving employees an enhanced sense of pride. At the same time, a thriving community offers the best environment for business, too.

Grants and donations are not the only way for companies to invest in the places where they operate. Most business leaders will tell you that their biggest asset is their workforce—and engaging employees in community service, community improvement and other efforts to support nonprofit organizations can multiply the impact of corporate giving. Some have found this is also a way to increase employee satisfaction. On the following pages, we profile four Central Ohio businesses that have developed their own unique ways of encouraging employees to be a part of community improvement efforts, from a large natural gas supplier that deploys its entire workforce for an annual day of service to a digital marketing firm that employs a pro bono model, offering its services free of charge to sharpen one nonprofit’s outreach efforts.

Engaging employees in community service can be costly and time-consuming—but executives at each of the following companies said the benefits outweighed the cost. “Knowing that you work for a business that wants to change lives and change communities gives them a greater sense of purpose,” says insurance agent Andrea Taylor, whose 12 Months of Giving engages her staff in monthly service projects. “This isn’t just coming to a job. We have a vision, and they see our work out in the community and how it impacts others.”