Charity: why your IT company should do it

Once, on an early morning in New Orleans, the USA, I was having a super early breakfast. It was the weekend, and local firefighters were doing their “fill the boot” thing. They would park their trucks and go around asking people to put donations into a boot. The cause was fighting muscular dystrophy in children. Everyone around me was reacting very positively and would put a few dollars into the boot with a big smile. However, charity is not taken so well everywhere in the world.

For example, here in Ukraine, people are not used to it; therefore, more efforts should be made to educate our society on the importance of fundraising. The situation has slightly improved over the last couple of years, and we at Redwerk, as a company and a team, follow this optimistic trend and do our part to contribute to various charity initiatives. And here is why.

A long time ago, Seneca, a well-known stoic philosopher, used to consider good deeds as the ultimate asset.

His point was simple: you can lose all of your money and property, but the good things you’ve done to others will stick with you forever.

Svitlana, a good friend of mine, once was organizing a hip street food festival in Vinnytsia. On the menu, there were some delicious snacks, like snow crab and oysters, and caviar. She called me asking for advice. Among other things, she wondered what the social responsibility part should be.

“You should definitely focus on making it a profitable business for you and your partners,” I said. “That’s your goal. And if you don’t have the time to come up with something elaborate for charity, consider the fact that not everyone can afford snow crab and caviar. Unfortunately, some people do not always have the basics, such as bread and potatoes. Set up a very simple booth at the entrance or a stand somewhere in the corner with this message displayed so that people could donate money or food. Don’t put too much time into it — in the first place, you need to be profitable.”

The main goal of every venture is to gain revenue — there is no doubt about it. But if the business runs well, it’s nice to have a little charity side to it too.

The latter is not always about collecting money and donating it. You can hire someone to do a charity job for you. You can find some old stuff you no longer use, such as clothing and electronics. These things may cost nothing, and the effort to sell them is not going to pay off, but for someone, they mean a fortune. You can make a difference even with such a basic donation.

For example, if you’re an IT company like us, instead of selling your old computers for pennies, you can donate them to an underprivileged public school in the countryside. Be forward-thinking: your gesture of kindness may attract job candidates with similar moral values to your company in the future!

If you arrange a street food festival, feed the leftovers to the needy, and the goodies that have not been sold can be packed and delivered to an orphanage in no time. It costs nothing or very little but makes a huge difference, especially if you engage your team in this activity.

To me, there is a list of reasons why charity is good for my company:

  • It makes people kind and empathetic, including myself. Kind people are more efficient. They don’t confront each other, show understanding, and work together better.
  • It’s a great team-building activity, bonding my people much better than going to the bar together.
  • It lets us look out of our cocoon and experience things beyond the familiar social circle, in other words, get to know the world better.
  • It promotes brand awareness and a positive company image.

No matter the benefits, don’t force it on your employees — make charity activities optional. For example, every Christmas, we ask orphanage kids to write us letters. Then we hang those letters on our office Christmas tree and let the employees pick one. Once done with their choices, my teammates get to fulfill a kid’s Christmas wish. Those who haven’t done it this year will likely participate the next time as this is a perfect moment to become a Santa.

At first, I had to initiate fundraisers and charity events like collaborations with various funds, and organized visits to orphanages and nursing homes. However, over time, they became a part of the company culture. Initiatives like this happen regularly without any effort from my side.

They just do, because the Redwerk team doesn’t imagine our company life without helping someone.

It’s up to you whether you want to publicize your charity activity to improve your marketing and PR campaigns. We choose to do so, because it attracts like-minded, kind people, who we want to have on the team, and it conveys an important social message to other businesses like ours. It doesn’t mean you brag about it. It means you tell others that you choose to help.

Arranging fundraisers and volunteering at charity events have long become a standard practice among reputable companies in developed countries. In Ukraine, however, this kind of social initiatives are not that common, yet over the recent years, we have observed positive dynamics in this regard.

The reason behind it lies in numerous benefits that charity brings both to society and business: the needy receive financial and moral support, whereas the company establishes its reputation and unites people with big hearts who never hesitate to make a change.

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Founder and CEO @ Redwerk — helping companies achieve success through technology http://redwerk.com/ Traveler, language-learning and drone-flying enthusiast

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Konstantin Klyagin

Konstantin Klyagin

Founder and CEO @ Redwerk — helping companies achieve success through technology http://redwerk.com/ Traveler, language-learning and drone-flying enthusiast

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