Today, the Society of Industrial & Office Realtors (SIOR) proudly celebrates the organizations official “Service Day.”
The significance of May 8th ties back to when World War II ended in Europe (VE or Victory-Europe Day). SIOR was founded in 1941, a direct result of the war when the United States was pulled into the global conflict and needed to quickly acquire warehouses and factories to produce supplies. In that regard, the government turned to a trusted group of professionals who embarked on what was perhaps the single most important commercial real estate assignment in the history of our great nation. As a result, SIR (now SIOR) was born.
In honor of one of SIOR’s core founding principles—to serve the greater good—SIOR continues its annual day of charity. SIOR chapters and members will be generously volunteering their time and financial support to various non-profit organizations.
These efforts always remind me of the importance of giving back. However, for many companies, corporate philanthropy is still only something you engage in when you have extra time or money. There are various tangible, professional reasons why investing in your community through volunteerism can pay real dividends — here are 3 of them:
#1: The Messaging Speaks to Your Culture
Volunteerism goes much deeper than just the act of making a donation. Done the right way, it can become a positive influence in any company culture.
Companies who have embraced a focus on philanthropy are creating unique opportunities to promote employee engagement in ways that typical day to day business simply can’t. There is no greater feeling than when you make a positive impact in someone’s life.
Top professionals also evaluate a firm based on their commitment to giving back. Though volunteer work is greatly underplayed on resumes and in business promotions, it is an influential factor when talent chooses a new employer.
Clearly, the focus is on the giving, but the messaging speaks to the culture of your company, what you stand for and inner office dynamics that go beyond one’s primary job function.
#2: Broaden Your Professional Network & Outlook
Personal engagement and dedicating time on local community boards or organizations, puts you in direct contact with other leading business professionals that you otherwise, may not have close interactions with.
In these opportunities, individuals have the ability to gain insight on a variety of projects and challenges they don’t often see in their existing role at work. In this spirit of volunteerism comes personal and professional growth.
#3: Building Meaningful Relationships
Volunteering puts you in touch with different members of your community in a way that business can’t. Further, when you volunteer, you build lasting, meaningful relationships that extend well beyond the professional realm. A special trust develops in a non-sales environment that isn’t focused on self-interest.
For companies, donating time to a worthy cause also has the benefit of bringing employees closer together. These efforts are not only fulfilling but build camaraderie, friendships and team-oriented skills.
If this isn’t compelling enough, take what Winston Churchill famously said on the topic: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Business and philanthropy must be intertwined – not just an afterthought or something we do to feel better. Like SIORs Service Day, it should be a core mission in our business.
If your company isn’t already dedicating and investing time and resources into its local community, don’t be afraid to start small and develop a more vibrant program over time – but be sure and make the commitment. You won’t regret it!