By Jay Madary, President and CEO of JVM Realty
The holidays are here, and that means spending treasured quality time with family and friends. The holidays are also a time when people and companies seek to extend a helping hand to those in need.
At JVM, for instance, eight associates from our corporate office recently spent a day helping residents and staff at the Marklund Home in Geneva, Ill., decorate for the holidays. While there, our team members also presented the organization – which serves infants, children, teens and adults with profound developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs – with a monetary donation.
All across the country, in every industry, companies large and small are undertaking similar efforts in the days before Christmas. That’s to be applauded.
But it’s also critical that companies realize they have a duty to serve the communities in which they operate during the rest of the year, too. Charitable organizations often report a surge of donations and volunteer activity during the holiday season but say the months of January, February and March can be awfully quiet on both fronts.
In a GuideStar survey, more than half of the nonprofit organizations surveyed reported they receive the majority of their contributions during the last three months of the year. An official with a local Catholic Charities chapter told the Kansas City Star that his chapter typically receives 30 percent of its annual contributions in November and December, only to find that January and February are the slowest months on the calendar.
Those among us who are less fortunate need that helping hand 12 months a year – and it’s our responsibility to give it to them. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Helping Associates Help Others
There are many ways in which companies can help local non-profits and charitable organizations throughout the year. Some common efforts include fundraising drives and group volunteer outings.
At JVM, our Committed to Community program includes two components. Through the gift-matching component, we provide a dollar-to-dollar match to our associates’ donations to eligible charities, up to $500 per associate per year.
Secondly, we offer our associates one paid day off from work each year to volunteer with an eligible organization. This day does not count against their vacation time.
The American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Marklund Home, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are some of the charities JVM and our associates have supported through various initiatives over the years.
Giving back can have several benefits for a company. For starters, it can create rewarding and bonding experiences for associates, and it can build a reservoir of good will for a company in the surrounding community. Additionally, a robust corporate social responsibility program can serve to attract today’s young employees, especially the millennials and Gen Z’ers who are so admirably altruistic.
But in the end, there’s only one reason a company should undertake charitable initiatives: we all have a responsibility to help those in need. And that need is always there, during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year as well.