Top 5 business leaders who actively give back and how you can follow their example to help your company benefit

Each company’s plan for giving back to the community differs based on their size, values, and what they have to offer. Community giving is both a good thing to do for the community, and a smart business move. There is a lot to learn from the top business leaders who actively give back:

  1. Bill Gates – Gates remains one of the most prolific philanthropists in the world. One thing that sets Gates apart is his dedication not just by donating his own fortune, but by mobilizing other business leaders to give, and targeting specific causes, such as malaria.
  2. Wells Fargo – The big bank topped the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s most recent list of the most charitable companies in America. Wells Fargo gave millions of dollars to various nonprofit organizations. Their focus on promoting success and stability in local communities is notable.
  3. Ben and Jerry’s – The ice cream company gives to many handpicked, grassroots charities, but that’s not what sets it apart. Ben and Jerry’s sources its ingredients from companies with the same goals, such as Fair Trade Certified sources and cows raised without the use of growth hormone.
  4. Tom’s of Maine – Not only does Tom’s of Maine donate a preset portion of their profits to charity, they also allow employees to spend 5% of their paid work time volunteering for nonprofit organizations of their choosing.
  5. Wal-Mart – This company consistently tops lists of most generous companies, simply because of the sheer volume of capital at their disposal to donate. Wal-Mart encourages employee charity by matching employee donations to nonprofits, and providing cash donations to nonprofits where employees volunteer.

Although these business leaders who actively give back run extremely large, well-known corporations with mounds of money to spare for giving back, there are still many lessons to be gleaned from them. For example, one common feature of all of these leaders is the world at large is aware of their contributions, thanks to the visibility of their efforts. Their charitable efforts lie along the same lines as their business field, which leads to a consistency in terms of message and image. They encourage employees to become active by giving back to the local community, thus promoting company-wide values. The top charitable business executives share their ideas with others.

Although the above business leaders who actively give back sometimes have targeted charity drives or events at particular points throughout the year, their giving is a year-round, company-wide effort that becomes part of the company’s business plan, values and image. Giving back to the community should not only happen during specific campaigns, but also throughout the day-to-day operations of your business.

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on November 14, 2013. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing


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