Shortly after forming 4Patriots LLC, I began communicating to my employees regarding why I wanted 4Patriots to become a philanthropic company. I emphasized that first and foremost it’s the right thing to do, and I want my marketing firm to do the right thing regardless of whether anyone outside the company knows about it.
I told them that if we end up receiving positive media attention for our donations – and our current and potential customers learn about those contributions – great. But that’s not our primary motivation.
Being in a position to help people in need is a wonderful privilege, but we also consider it a significant responsibility. It’s one we take very seriously. We know we can’t help everybody, so we choose some of the causes that are nearest and dearest to our hearts. We also try to provide help to people in a way that connects with our company’s DNA.
In our case, we contribute financial aid to a variety of organizations that fund projects involving active members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as their families. We believe that the men and women who willingly lay their lives on the line for our country have earned the right to be treated with the utmost respect and deserve all the support we can give them.
We also make regular donations of our products. These include survival food kits that we send to food banks in areas hit hard by extreme weather, and water purification systems to daycare centers and schools where dangerous levels of lead and other contaminants have been discovered. Our hearts go out to those individuals negatively affected by natural disasters, as well as to children, the most vulnerable members of our society.
So, doing the right thing for the right reason feels pretty good. But that’s hardly the end of the story. We learned there was an unanticipated benefit to our “giving back” in the form of supporting worthy causes: it has provided our employees with another reason to be proud of the company that signs their paychecks. It has put an extra spring in their step.
Over and over again our employees have let us know how much it means to them to work for a company that uses a portion of its profits to aid people in need. Knowing that their efforts result in unfortunate people being helped gives our employees added incentive to go the extra mile to make sure our company continues to thrive.
In fact, a number of our employees now approach us when they hear about a situation where we can be of help, and several have suggested specific charitable organizations with which we can partner.
This kind of employee participation and “ownership” was not something I expected when we began to walk this philanthropic path. But it certainly has become a welcome added benefit.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.