The important role of leadership in corporate giving culture
15 November 2021 at 4:37 pm
Business leaders believe executives need to walk the walk when it comes to corporate giving and supporting community programs
Senior executives can help instil a strong corporate giving culture inside their organisations by championing and driving their company’s community initiatives, business leaders say.
Good2Give and CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) held a Worldwide Symposium on Philanthropy last Tuesday, which included a panel session on the role of leadership in corporate giving culture.
One of the business leaders on the panel was Nicky Tracey, the head of community at Australia Post.
She spoke with Pro Bono News afterwards about how Australia Post’s giving culture was shaped, the benefits this culture has on the functioning of the business as a whole, and the importance of building resilient communities.
Tracey said since Australia Post has both a commercial purpose and a social purpose, the idea of helping communities thrive was ingrained in the fabric of the organisation.
Australia Post’s community strategy has three focus areas: mental health and wellbeing, disaster support, and children’s literacy.
To this end, the business has community-focused partnerships with Beyond Blue, Australian Red Cross, and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
Australia Post also has a Community Grants Program where not for profits can apply for up to $10,000 to support projects that help people connect at a local level and improve mental wellbeing.
She said the company’s executive and senior leadership was really committed to leading and championing this work, to ensure communities can thrive and grow into the future.
“It is something that our senior leaders know is good for our business. It’s good for our customers and the community, and it really improves workforce engagement and happiness, when employees are able to be involved in community activities,” Tracey said.
Tracey highlighted the importance of executives walking the walk when it came to showing leadership in this area.
She noted that with Australia Post’s disaster support focus for example, senior leaders often flew into impacted communities within 24 hours of a disaster occurring to help deliver the mail or keep the post office running.
“Day in and day out [our leaders] really champion and lead from the top, which helps make my role delivering the programs so much smoother, when I know I have that support from senior leadership,” she said.
Australia Post runs a People of Post grants program, which allows staff to apply for up to $500 to support the work of any community organisation they’re connected to.
The organisation also has a workplace giving program, offering matched giving for 428 charities of an employee’s choice.
Tracey said by providing these giving options, Australia Post is ensuring employees can contribute to the community in a way that’s meaningful to them.
“What we hear from our people every day is they want the ability to support organisations and causes that they’re really passionate about,” she said.
For Tracey, these initiatives are not just about creating positive change in the community, they also help boost the functioning of the business as a whole.
“If I put my commercial hat on, we need Australian communities to be resilient and to thrive and prosper because [that leads to] commercial benefits for Australia Post. We grow when Australian communities grow,” she said.
“So while there are altruistic motives and workforce engagement motives to what we do, there is also a commercial imperative and an opportunity for us as an organisation as well.”