Charity: Chicken Soup for a Brand's Soul
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Assurance surveys its employees. A lot. In reviewing their responses, it never ceases to amaze me that one of the things they like most about working for our company is our Assurance Caring Together program. ACT, as we call it, was officially formed in 2005 as way to organize the company's various charity pursuits. An employee-led and employee-driven program, ACT’s stated mission is to, “Inspire hope in the communities where we live and work by becoming actively involved with charitable organizations in their efforts to improve the quality of people’s lives. We’re committed to achieving this goal one day at a time for however long it takes.”
ACT's efforts are really two-fold. First a committee of volunteer employees is responsible for distributing monetary donations to local charities. Assurance’s Board of Directors sets aside approximately 1% of the company's operating profits each year for charity. Second, the committee partners with employee-nominated charities in need of hands-on assistance and organizes labor hour contributions. ACT Time, as we call it, allows each Assurance employee to use one of their regular paid work days during the year to volunteer their time to help a charity in need.
I’ve been fortunate to serve as an Executive Advisor to the ACT Committee since the program’s inception, and here’s what I’ve learned over these past 10 years: While the monetary contributions are important, it’s really the ACT time our employees respond to the most. Since ACT was first established, our employees have donated over 12,600 labor hours to more than 85 local and national charities. The opportunity Assurance gives them to take a day away from the office, get their hands dirty helping an organization in need, and spend time working alongside fellow Assurance employees they may not otherwise get to interact with while at the office, presents a deeply meaningful experience. New friendships are made. Bonds are formed. And the chance to use Assurance’s own success to make a difference in the lives of others in need is incredibly rewarding. It’s the kind of thing many of our employees wish they could organize themselves, or make the time for, but somehow rarely do. How strange their 9-5 job has become of the primary vehicles in their lives that help them give back!
I recognize it’s not easy for every company to give employees a day off to donate their time for a charity, but I can assure you we get far more than we give. Our employees’ hearts are our culture, and if their hearts are made more full from their charity experience, then we as a company are far better off in the end. If you’d like information on setting up a similar program for your company, I’d be happy to share the policy and procedures manual we’ve developed for ACT over the years. Please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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