Together, We All Win

Your philanthropic strategy is a vital part of your organization’s brand and reputation.

by Jennifer Zammuto, Heart of Illinois United Way
Jennifer Zammuto

The mission and strategy of your business are crucial to its success. Your workplace is critical to the culture, reputation and success of your organization—and your philanthropic strategy is just as important. Many times, however, it is an afterthought. 

Expectations have changed. Your philanthropic strategy is a vital part of your brand and reputation. Your customers, employees and community all see it as an important part of who you are as a company. 

A Mission to Give Back
Multiple research studies show that obtaining and retaining customers, as well as employees, starts by helping them understand how your strategy for giving back ties into your work. How do you fulfill your mission and strategy without a culture in which employees feel engaged? How does your company's philanthropy help you achieve your mission? 

Engaging employees in your philanthropic strategies offers opportunities for leadership and team-building, improves employee morale and retention, creates awareness within your workforce about community needs, and makes it easy for your employees to give back through their workplace. 

Giving doesn’t only have to be dollars; volunteerism can be tied into this mission as well. When employees are encouraged to share their time and talents, it gives them opportunities to lead and grow within your company and the community by helping nonprofits gain access to the talent they need to be successful. 

Your first step should be to decide what approach you want to take to philanthropy and what that means for your business. Will you be reactive and give back your time and resources when approached by a nonprofit, or will you be proactive by looking at your mission and incorporating your philanthropic goals into your business strategies and workplace culture?

Ensuring Your Impact
At the Heart of Illinois United Way, we help businesses and organizations think about how and what to invest in, charitably. We have a team of volunteers that works to make sure your investment in our impact areas—education, financial stability and health—yields the highest return for people in need in central Illinois. We ensure the programs we fund positively impact lives. And we can adapt as times and needs change… and we certainly saw a significant increase in needs this past year. 

Your philanthropic and community engagement efforts are truly an economic story—for your business, for your employees, for our nonprofits, and ultimately for people in need. A healthy community and a healthy economy benefit us all. Through our Community Impact Fund, the Heart of Illinois United Way ensures basic needs are met while helping more people obtain the education and job training they need. Thank you to everyone at workplaces throughout central Illinois who invest their time and treasure each year. 

 For decades, the Heart of Illinois United Way has been a part of workplaces small and large, in-person and remotely, across central Illinois. Without the hundreds of workplace volunteers who support our campaign each year, we could not continue to ensure people in our community have access year-round to a solid foundation of education, financial stability and health services. Together, we all win. PM

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