Clark Nuber, a midsized accounting firm in Bellevue, Washington, says "giving back to the community is integral to (its) culture." The firm has been recognized in the Puget Sound area as a leader in community service, and in each of the last two years, Clark Nuber was cited as one of Washington State's top corporate philanthropists in a ranking by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Ann Callister, Clark Nuber's senior director of marketing, oversees the firm's community projects, and she outlined her recommendations with AccountingWEB in an interview.
Getting involved: "I'm guessing most people don't need a place to start – that they're probably already getting hit up." The firm relies on staffers rather than partners to identify locally based nonprofit organizations that they deem worthy of donations of money or employee time. The firm has a once-a-month "denim day" when employees pay a $10 donation to wear jeans to work. Employee donations, which Clark Nuber matches, also give employees the chance to put the name of their favorite nonprofit into a drawing with the proceeds from denim day going to those pulled out of a hat. Clients also provide the names of nonprofits. In addition, employees also volunteer to work in various nonprofits, through the firm's Caring, Serving, Giving program, and backs it through the donation of employees' time.
Responsibilities: Designate who decides on the beneficiaries. It may be best not to put it on the partners. "All the requests we get come through the marketing department, and we track everything and are the ones to say yes or no." If an appeal is rejected, "we're sure to communicate with them and let them know why. They understand that we can't support everybody. People get that. We also try to rotate the organizations that we support so it's not always the same ones."
Benefits: "We've been doing this for a number of years, and I think the karma comes back to us in a number of ways. We're very well respected in the community," and it also builds employee loyalty and teamwork.