This is part 2 of a three-article series on integrating philanthropy and corporate giving into your business’s culture to increase community involvement and, where it makes sense, to help your company grow.
Ever since I started my health and wellness advertising agency, Fingerpaint, I wanted to use the company as a machine to do good in the community. When it came to establishing our core value of philanthropy, however, I knew I couldn’t juggle our charitable initiatives on top of steering the company. That’s when I hired Bo Goliber, an experienced community relations executive who has been with our company as head of philanthropy for nearly eight years.
I recently sat down with Bo for some insight on how she built our philanthropic initiatives from the ground up, how she views her role, and how she launched a successful corporate giving program at Fingerpaint.
Ed Mitzen: Thanks for joining me, Bo. To start off, would you mind sharing what qualities are most important for someone in a role similar to yours?
Bo Goliber: First and foremost, I think it’s important to hire a true “people person” with enthusiasm and passion for making a difference. That way, their excitement hopefully rubs off on others. A communications expert with experience in corporate partnerships, fundraising, volunteer coordination, and event planning is also a plus.
EM: That makes perfect sense, and you definitely fit the bill! When you came on board at Fingerpaint, what was important for you to learn about the agency to build our philanthropy and corporate giving program?
BG: First, I needed to truly understand what’s important to our company leaders and our staff, and then find out a little bit about the communities surrounding each of our offices. Then I had to find the common threads that would tie it all together. I like to make sure that our philanthropy not only helps our communities where there is a need, but is also relevant to our business and industry. Using this information, I was able to come up with a strategic plan that accomplished our objectives for establishing a philanthropic arm.
EM: Striking that balance of authenticity and strategy is really important to me when it comes to philanthropy. How do you think taking an authentic stance on philanthropy can benefit your business?
BG: I believe the workforce of today is looking for a company that’s dedicated to giving back to its people and its community. By establishing an authentic commitment to what’s really important and sticking to it, I think clients and staff can see the real impact of building meaningful and sustainable partnerships, and they will begin to connect that to their work and their everyday life.
EM: Finally, we know everyone at our company is super busy with their client work and day-to-day tasks. How do you rally the staff to engage in charitable programming in addition to their day jobs?
BG: Our industry really packs a lot into the workday, so finding extra time can be a challenge. Providing varied and accessible opportunities is important so that people can choose whether they’d prefer to give time, talent, or treasure (dollars). We also try to really listen to what matters to the staff and create opportunities to highlight those causes wherever possible. Not only does this do good in our community, but it also improves our culture and provides our staff with causes to rally around.
We’re so proud that philanthropy is and will continue to be one of the cornerstones of our culture, and we truly couldn’t do it without someone who understands how to establish a purposeful plan, motivate and engage our staff, and contribute so much to our people-first philosophy.