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The growing power of philanthropy

Photograph: Shutterstock

When restaurant operators think about ways to grow their businesses and where they want their companies to be in the future, they should factor philanthropic efforts into that growth.

Today’s consumers want to support businesses that reflect their values and have a positive effect on society, but philanthropy shouldn’t be about financial gain for operators. It’s about the overall positive impact restaurants can make in their communities and have with their employees. No matter the size of a business, choosing to give back to the community is always the right thing to do, even with small actions.

One way for operators to get started is to decide to set change in motion. Develop a philanthropic vision and share it with employees and stakeholders. Ask for feedback and support. Set clear guidelines for how to bring the vision to life and then be determined to make change. Consistently model “giving back” behavior to help peers and colleagues develop the same mindset, and pretty soon that philanthropic vision will become a reality.

Here are some examples of small changes that can make a big difference:

  • Allow employees to have time off to volunteer.
  • Match monetary donations to a local charity, up to a comfortable dollar amount.
  • Start a giving tree to support local families in need during the holidays.

Slightly larger programs can include partnering with a local food bank to donate meals or holding a food drive at the restaurant, which the entire community can participate in.

Other initiatives for giving back

Some companies create a “buy one, give one” model, such as donating one pair of eyeglasses, socks or shoes to people and communities in need for each pair purchased. For Procter & Gamble (P&G), maker of familiar brands such as Dawn, Tide and Bounty, giving back is built into its business models and comes to life in different ways in communities around the world. But even its efforts started small and in its own backyard, with the then-soap and candle maker supporting The Community Chest, now known as United Way.

Today, P&G is a global citizen bringing clean water to communities in need; helping to clean and save wildlife affected by oil spills; providing relief and clean clothes through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundromat; and enabling the Denny’s Mobile Relief Diner to wash and sanitize reusable pans, trays, bowls and more when preparing hot meals for people in need after a natural disaster strikes. Despite its size, P&G’s giving programs started locally and with one small step.

Giving back is a good thing to do—but it’s also the right thing to do. The commitment businesses make to give back can have a substantial impact on the communities where operators and their employees live and work. Giving back can also have a halo effect, helping businesses to build or grow a positive reputation with the people living in their community. Philanthropy adds value to community members’ experience with a company. That work, then, is not only a force for good but also can be a force for growth.

Click here to learn more about P&G Professional.

This post is sponsored by P&G Professional

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