At the National Christian Foundation, we have the privilege to serve some of the most generous business owners in the country. In cities throughout the U.S., these inspiring men and women are using their companies to transform their industries and their communities with creative ideas for giving.
If you’re in the unique position to steward a business, or you know someone who is, check out this list of ten practical ways to create a more generous business:
- Operate with excellence: Generosity begins with a mindset of putting customers’ needs first and offering great products and excellent service. Small business owner Angela Correll puts it this way, “We feel like anything less than excellence in our businesses is not a good reflection of our Creator.“
- Lead by example: Make a personal commitment of time, talents, and money. Alan Barnhart, head of Barnhart Crane and Rigging, and his brother, Eric, decided to cap their salaries and give away any corporate profits above that amount. Alan explains, “If we work hard at generating additional revenue and God prospers us, these profits mean nothing to our lifestyle as owners, but they mean a lot to the Kingdom. As a result, many employees are attracted to our company because they want to be part of supporting Kingdom work through business.”
- Set giving goals: You use business metrics, so why not use giving metrics? With input from your leadership team, sales staff, and employees, you could set giving goals based on your company’s profits, total dollars, or volunteer hours. And don’t forget, it’s important to measure results, not just dollars.
- Develop guidelines: Be careful about where money goes because your reputation goes with it. One NCF giver met with his leadership team to develop written guidelines for the types of organizations that they would support so there would be no misunderstanding before any of their corporate giving initiatives were put into place.
- Partner for impact: As your corporate giving grows, the National Christian Foundation has the expertise and tools to make the process more manageable and tax-efficient. Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage (pictured above), says, “NCF helped us set up a supporting organization for the Movement Foundation and move a good deal of our equity on a yearly basis into that foundation to maximize our tax savings and our opportunity to invest in Kingdom work.” To date, the Movement Foundation has given away over $22 million.
- Offer generous perks: We’ve seen executives offer a number of different incentives to encourage generosity, including (1) matching employee gifts, (2) providing corporate funds to help cover the cost of adoption, (3) organizing a contest for staff members to win the chance to give away $10,000 to the charity of his/her choice, and (4) setting up a corporate benevolence fund. Jess Correll, president of First Southern National Bank in Stanford, Kentucky, adds that giving is good for business: “All the giving incentives that we offer are really good for our company. People just love to work at a place where it’s more than just working for money.”
- Give a Giving Fund: As a reward for excellent service or tenure, some NCF givers have rewarded their employees with their own Giving Fund at NCF with a pre-funded balance. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to impact a staff member’s life and spread the joy of generosity, giving away a Giving Fund is a powerful way to do it.
- Enjoy a JOG: One NCF giver who owns a bank invited all his employees to attend a Journey of Generosity (JOG), facilitated through the non-profit, Generous Giving. Through short videos, scriptures, and personal testimonies, the JOG helped them explore the life-changing message of generosity and the power it has to bring joy, freedom, and purpose.
- Maximize your giving: NCF has creative ways for business owners to leverage their giving. Entrepreneur Andy Andreas says, “If you are a Christian business owner, you should stay up-to-date with NCF on the constantly morphing tax laws. It pays to be prepared, and there are lots of ways you can give from your business whether you are selling or not. NCF offers the wisest strategies to help eliminate capital gains taxes, increase cash flow, and maximize giving."
- Focus on joy: Generosity at work is more than just a monetary goal. It’s about the satisfaction that comes from building deeper relationships with your team … and the joy of seeing the lives of those you are helping change for the better. Clyde Lear of Learfield Communications explains it this way: “For me, as an entrepreneur, having a great sale or doing a great deal brought wonderful satisfaction. There is a high about it that you just absolutely love. When we touch somebody’s life and get to see what’s happening, it’s that same high … I mean, is there such a thing as a giving high? I’ve heard of a runner’s high. I think we’ve found it. That’s great.”
>> See how NCF can help you use your business to fund ministry
Photo: Movement Mortgage