What Are YOU Doing to Give Back?

By Katie McGraw (@katiemcgraw24)

As a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day.  The bills that need to be paid, the headaches that need addressing, the latest win, or the latest loss.  Still, companies like SHIFT Communications, are finding ways to devote time and resources despite the fact that many businesses have been asked to do more with less.

President Obama once said, “Make no mistake: Our destiny as Americans is tied up with one another.”  With this in mind and with the national push to take part in spurring positive change, more companies are looking at corporate social responsibility as a necessity rather than a choice.

In late 2010, SHIFT engaged in their very own commitment to change by making a concerted effort to devote more time and resources to our Social Good Taskforce.  The SG Taskforce did some thorough research to determine how the company’s time and resources could be leveraged to give back.  In line with this effort, we kicked off the holiday season with a clothing and supply drive to benefit Cradles for Crayons.

Cradles for Crayons (C2C) is a Brighton, MA-based nonprofit organization that provides in-need children with the essentials to feel safe, warm, ready to learn and valued.   According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, there are more than 305,000 Massachusetts children ages 0-12 living in low-income and homeless situations.  To help curb this staggering statistic, Cradles to Crayons partners with social-service organizations in the Boston-area to connect communities in need with resources — new or gently used items in good condition.  While our first effort consisted in the gathering of supplies, we are also working to more actively engage with C2C during an onsite visit this Spring!

There are many benefits to volunteering from a business perspective.  It can provide increased community visibility to improving an organization’s overall brand, but there’s also something to be said for the value as it relates to the people within the company.

SHIFT’s Social Good Taskforce is led by Jen Burns, account manager with the company.  When asked what she believed was the greatest benefit of community engagement from an employee perspective, Jen offered the following:

“We work hard and play hard at SHIFT, so it made sense to tap into this energy to benefit our local community.  As a mother, I realize how fortunate I am to have a safe home for my child, clothes to keep him warm, and food to keep his belly full.  It’s truly heartbreaking to know there are children in our own community who are not as lucky.  SHIFT’s volunteer efforts ensure we are all taking an active role in helping to bring about change and instill hope.  Cradles to Crayons is a great organization, and we look forward to partnering with them in the future to help those kids in our community that need it most.”

Recently, SHIFT employees across all three offices jointly raised funds to support the American Red Cross’ efforts to aid Japan.  The company matched all employee donations and SHIFT raised a total of $2,400.

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