Earlier this month, Colorado Gives Day celebrated another wonderfully successful effort. On December 4, generous donors gave $35.1 million to 2,481 nonprofits in Colorado. That’s a significant amount of money that will do a great deal of good in the months to come.

As an organization dedicated to “banking for good” (and a longtime supporter of Colorado Gives Day), we’re always inspired to see what people can accomplish when we come together. And we know firsthand what giving back can do for individuals and organizations alike. With the giving season in full swing, we want to explore four ways you can “do good” for the causes you care about, whether that’s with your company or on your own.


 AS A BUSINESS OWNER…

It’s no secret that philanthropy is becoming more important in business, but recent research from Deloitte makes it clear just how important it can be, especially for growing businesses. According to research, Millennials are twice as likely to rate their corporate culture very positive if their company participates in workplace volunteer activities. Likewise, Millennials are more likely to work for and buy from companies that give to charity. If it’s good for the spirit and the bottom line, the next logical question has to be, “How can I get started?” We have a couple suggestions:

Offer A Match

One simple way to give back and get others involved is to offer a match for employee donations to charitable causes. Simply pick an amount, a timeframe and any giving guidelines, then help your employees extend their impact.

Organize An Outing

It can be challenging to take a few hours or even a whole day away from the office to give back together, but research shows the results are well worth the effort. Employees who participated in company-wide giving or volunteer events were more productive on the job, more willing to help their colleagues, and speak more positively about their companies. And that doesn’t even take into account the memories everyone makes working side by side for a good cause.

Alternately, you can encourage in-person volunteering by allocating a certain number of volunteer hours per employee, per year. Today, just 21% of American companies offer VTO, but that number is on the rise.


 AS AN INDIVIDUAL…

When it comes to giving back, we can make a huge difference – one-by-one. In 2017, Americans gave $286.65 billion to charitable organizations. That massive dollar amount made up an impressive 70% of the total U.S. donations. We know the end of the year often turns into a budget crunch, but with advance planning, you can contribute to your favorite causes without breaking the bank. Average giving has long hovered around 2% of an individual’s income, so making a tiny adjustment to match that average is a great way to start including donations into your budget.

Here’s even more good news: finding a way to give back can be part of the fun. The more you believe in the causes you support, the better you’ll feel. So try these tactics to kick start your efforts:

Explore What’s Out There

There are more ways to give back than meet the eye. Check out Community First Foundation for ways to give and resources to help you pick an organization close to your heart and perhaps even close to your neighborhood. You may be surprised to discover a world of impactful charitable missions –  looking beyond the major names is a wonderful learning opportunity and a chance to support smaller organizations.

Make It Count

And speaking of smaller organizations, one great way to make the most of your volunteering efforts and donations is to do a bit of homework to maximize your impact. When considering how and where to give your time and money, think through the outcomes you’re supporting and extending. Are there matching opportunities? Does the organization need volunteers? Will your volunteering hours extend the good beyond just a few people? Do you have skills that could be valuable to a cause you support? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you greater certainty that you’re doing the most good possible – and that’s a pretty great feeling.

This holiday season, and all year round, we wish you all the best and thank you for finding ways, both small and large, to do good.

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