Why I started the program, how it has been successful, and how we plan to be active, socially responsible stewards of our community by supporting local nonprofit organizations.
I'd like to start this article by providing some context. At The Spur Group, we foster a culture that values:
- Clients - Do great client work
- Courage - Be vulnerable when speaking up & listening
- Accountability - Make and keep commitments
- Respect - Acknowledge everyone's opinions, abilities & qualities
- Inclusion - Promote diversity, visibility & involvement
These values guide how we engage with each other, with our clients, and with our communities. They underpin our dedication to our local community, encouraging employees to engage with conviction while giving back.
In 2017 we seized the opportunity to use these culture traits to benefit the places in which we live and work, and we were hugely successful in our inaugural year.
- We completed 183 hours of service across 3 volunteer events.
- We held fundraising drives that provided 4,700 meals to hungry families and 90 holiday gifts for less fortunate children.
- We held a silent auction benefitting Mary's Place that raised $4,489, which The Spur Group matched to total nearly $9k, and translated to 726 safe nights for the homeless.
What I had started as a program with a basic framework for easy and effective community involvement was more successful than I ever would have expected.
How it all began
I have done community service my entire life. I have been a tutor for at-risk immigrants, read to elementary school children, spent time with the elderly, cleaned up local parks, created marketing videos for healthcare workers, been a mentor, renovated houses, and organized fundraising events. I wouldn’t say that I’ve done more than anyone else I know, but regardless, I have been involved since the first grade.
The interesting thing is, I've been involved because it's been easy
Not only did I want to join everyone around me who was participating, but throughout my education the schools I attended had established programs to which one could effortlessly plug in. Each grade in my elementary and middle school supported a different cause for the year, and we did ongoing service with them until graduating to the next grade. In high school the student engagement center had abundant suggestions, and you could walk in once and come out with five new causes to care about. In college, involvement really picked up when I was surrounded by socially responsible peers and joined my sorority.
I saw an opportunity
With that in mind, the obvious answer for me was not to do something on the side, but instead to channel the potential of my company and start a program that was easily accessible. My initial goal was to get a basic cadence of events in place that reminded people that giving back was attainable, important, and also had the infrastructure to grow with time. I pitched the idea to our leadership team and thus, The Spur Group Community Service and Giving Program, or “Spurvice” Program, was born.
The 3 contributors to our success:
1. People have an innate desire to give back
I’m thankful to say that my peers were hungry for the opportunity to plug in. I’m willing to bet that most of the highly motivated, hardworking employees of The Spur Group were like me and had volunteered throughout their lives, with the idea of a responsibility to give back engrained in them. The spirit of collective action is alive and well at The Spur Group, and our program gives people the chance to gain a greater sense of purpose and a connection to their community.
2. Our program is accessible
In our first year, our program was low commitment and easy to join. With feedback from employees on the type of causes to support, the Spurvice team planned an event, shot out an email, and got volunteers to join us in whatever we had planned. It also provided employees with a variety of events to choose from that supported various causes. Just like I had experienced in my time at school, it was easy for people to be a part of something when opportunities presented themselves and peers were also involved.
3. The Spur Group leadership team's ongoing support
The Spur Group gave me constant feedback and guidance in my first year, invested financially, and promoted internally. The company is making it a priority to be a more responsible member of our local community.
Our mission & goals for 2018
Our mission is to be active, socially responsible stewards of our community who support local nonprofit organizations by volunteering, fundraising, and providing professional services.
To truly connect with the community we can’t just have one-off events with feel good afterthoughts. Our team wants to bring in members from the organizations for which we volunteer to further educate us about their causes.
Being socially responsible
As a company of active and willing participants, we can harness our collective capabilities to do a larger amount of good. We believe The Spur Group has a responsibility to use this power, and the Spurvice team is dedicated to putting this into action.
Supporting local nonprofit organizations
We recognize there are many worthy causes that are focused nationally or globally, but we still see unmet needs in the Seattle and Redmond area. We want to support locally to directly generate positive change where we live.
Volunteering, fundraising, and providing professional services
In 2017 the Spurvice team focused on volunteering and fundraising. Although we were successful, we believe we can create the most social impact in 2018 by providing professional services to nonprofits in the form of pro bono work.
According to a 2015 article from the Taproot Foundation, services donated by business professionals are valued at $150 per hour compared to $23.07 for more traditional volunteer time. The Spur Group is a consulting firm full of problem solving, go-to-market experts. If we can focus on our strengths and consult for nonprofits, we can boost their ability to do their work with more success.
I am beyond excited for the year ahead. Now that we have a year under our belts, The Spur Group's employees are familiar with how we operate and are making amazing suggestions for how we can do even more. We are constantly adding new events such as blood drives and clean-ups, exploring future opportunities like pro-bono work and assisting youth, and increasing our fundraising goals - especially those at our (second-annual!) silent auction.
None of this would be possible without the wonderful members of The Spur Group Community Service and Giving team, who have been my powerhouse and support system. I am extremely proud of The Spur Group’s involvement and am thankful for the opportunity to start a program that will only grow and achieve more with time.