Every year during Pride, I like to take a moment to reflect on myself, my life, and more importantly, the moments in the past year when I hid the fact that I am gay or otherwise shrunk myself for the sake of others. Once I’ve reflected, I then commit to ensuring those moments become more and more infrequent over the next year.
It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Pride isn’t a one-day thing. We’re not queer for just one day or month; instead, we live our truth 365 days a year. This means that every day we decide how authentic and open we’re going to be in any given situation. It can be difficult, but the more authentic we are, the more our community can flourish.
By showing up as our true selves, we become teachers in life. We teach others that it’s okay for them to be themselves, and we educate them about our community.
Now, the idea that as queer people, we also must educate our peers can be exhausting. It can be, but “being the teacher” can be as simple as living authentically and leading by example. (A quick example of one thing I do is add my pronouns to my email signature or Zoom name, regardless of the situation I’m in. For me, it’s an easy and quick way to normalize the use of pronouns in my workplace.)
And by showing up as your authentic self, you not only encourage, but create a space for, others to let their light shine bright, even if just to you. In the workplace, especially a new workplace, where people aren’t sure how they can show up, it makes a world of difference.
It’s crucial, though, for everyone to define what it means to “be the teacher” for themselves. This allows us to set boundaries on what we can or cannot take on, while, as a community, recognizing that it’s our responsibility to come together and support each other in carrying the charge of education when possible.
However, teaching requires engagement with a willing audience, and the first step to learning is an openness to acquire new information.
In the beginning, you might feel like you’re failing, but that’s okay. It’s okay to fail because every person has experienced failure at some point. (And as a queer community, we must give those learning the grace to fail, because they won’t grow without it.)
And as Brené Brown once said, we must “lean into the discomfort of the work” when addressing difficult situations. And it holds true here because opening yourself up to learning can be hard and uncomfortable. But it’s necessary.
We all have the opportunity to learn something new every day, and it could be challenging to confront preconceived notions you may not even know you have. But, in the end, it can go a long way toward creating a world where everyone feels welcomed, safe, and able to be their most authentic selves.
Building lasting customer relationships is essential for businesses and brands looking to thrive in today’s competitive market. However, building these relationships isn’t an easy task and requires a well-defined, thoughtful strategy. And one of the most effective strategies for building lasting customer relationships–and ultimately, customer lifetime value, is through partnerships. But how do we accomplish this? Read on to learn what we mean by customer lifetime value and discover six simple yet effective strategies to build on it.
How do you define Customer Lifetime Value?
The short answer: Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is the total amount of revenue a customer is expected to generate for a business over the course of their relationship. In partnership marketing, CLTV represents the revenue generated by a customer that comes through a partner’s link over the lifetime of their engagement with the brand or business. This metric is important because it allows you to calculate the true return on investment (ROI) for your partner marketing efforts.
“While affiliate, and the broader partnership channel are often prized for the ability to produce higher ROAS, that’s a decidedly short-term view to consider and this short-term view needs to be complemented by a long-term view like CLTV to drive the intended or desired outcomes. And this long-term view mandates use of a sophisticated partnership automation software provider that can offer cross-channel insights necessary for maximum transparency and program optimization.” – Maura Smith, CMO, Partnerize
Creating CLTV is a critical goal for any business looking to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of its marketing efforts. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by taking a thoughtful approach to the types of partnerships you establish and manage over time.
To aid your efforts to achieve CLTV, let’s take a look at six solid strategies for building CLTV in the partnership channel. Investing in these strategies sooner rather than later can build lasting customer relationships that lead to increased revenue and profitability over the long term and that’s good news for everyone.
1. Identify the right affiliate partners: To build CLTV, it’s important to work with partners that align directly with your brand values and goals. Look for partners that have a similar audience and complementary products or services. This can help ensure that the customers acquired through the partnership are more likely to be interested in your products or services and more likely to become long-term customers.
Examine your existing partnerships that are effective in generating CLTV. They likely have attributes that play a role in generating the outcome you desire, and therefore, those attributes should be thoughtfully considered as part of your partner recruitment strategy. The partnerships you establish today, will either be successful in generating long term value, like CLTV, or not. By selecting the right partners, brands can increase the likelihood of attracting customers with high CLTV, who are likely to return for repeat purchases.
Remember, equally important to aligning to your brand’s values is working with a diverse partner composition to ensure your partners are driving value for your brand at varying stages of the funnel.
2. Provide high-quality products or services: Building CLTV through partnerships starts with providing high-quality products or services that meet the needs and expectations of your customers (and your partner’s audience). By delivering a great customer experience, you can build trust and credibility with customers and increase the likelihood of repeat purchases, giving your partners a better foundation as they promote and recommend your brand.
Furthermore, CLTV can help businesses identify which products or services are most profitable in their partnerships. By analyzing the CLTV of customers who purchase different products or services through partner links, brands can determine which offerings are generating the most long-term value. This information can then be used to optimize the program by focusing on promoting the most profitable products or services, or even developing new offerings that are likely to generate even greater CLTV.
3. Offer incentives for repeat purchases: One way to encourage your customers to make repeat purchases is to offer incentives such as discounts, loyalty programs, or rewards for referrals. These incentives can help your partnerships drive increased customer loyalty and encourage customers to continue doing business with you over the long term (hello, lifetime value!).
4. Communicate regularly with your customers: Regular communication with customers and your partners is key to building CLTV. This can include sending newsletters, promotional emails, or other relevant content that keeps customers and partners engaged and informed about your products or services. Partnerships can help keep your brand front and center with your target audience and customers, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases and referrals.
5. Provide exceptional customer service: Just like your product offering, exceptional customer service is essential for building CLTV through your partnerships. By providing prompt and helpful responses to customer inquiries or concerns, you can build trust and loyalty with customers and increase the likelihood of repeat business.
6. Measure and optimize: To build CLTV through your partnerships, it’s important to continually measure and optimize your marketing efforts. This can involve tracking metrics such as customer acquisition costs, customer retention rates, and revenue generated from the partnership channel. By analyzing this data, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize your partnerships and your marketing efforts. Remember: Your provider should have sophisticated technology that enables granular tracking across any data point.
Additionally, brands can increase their CLTV by de-siloing the partnership marketing channel and looking at the bigger picture of how consumers interact with their brand across channels. Instead of seeing partnerships (or affiliate marketing) as a standalone channel, businesses should consider how it fits into the broader, complex customer journey. This can involve analyzing data from multiple touchpoints, such as social media, email marketing, and website traffic, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of customer behavior. Generally, the idea is to review the partnership channel side- by -side with other channels to understand the impact when the touchpoint is present versus when it’s not. AOVs may be higher, and purchase consideration time may be shorter, however, this analysis cannot be completed without a holistic view of your entire digital marketing channels. And like having a provider that can offer cross-channel insights is critical to success, having a software provider with integrations into BI and analytics tools to help break down the barriers is also imperative.
By breaking down silos and taking a more holistic view of their marketing efforts, brands can identify the most effective partnerships and marketing strategies for driving customer loyalty and increasing CLTV. This can lead to a more sustainable and profitable partnership marketing program that generates long-term value for both the brand and its partners. Overall, by embracing a proactive and collaborative approach to partnerships, brands can create greater CTLV and establish stronger relationships with their partners.
“With cross-channel insights and conscious media spend you can discover the most effective strategies for building sustainable and profitable partnership programs that create lasting value for you, your consumers, and your partners.” – Kim Riedell, SVP, Partnerships & Affiliate Outcomes
Bottomline: CLTV is a crucial metric in partnership marketing and understanding the long-term value of the customers brought in by your partners, can help inform smarter decisions about how much to invest in the channel, who to partner with, and which products or services to promote. All this will ultimately lead to greater profitability and more sustainable partnerships.
The evolution of retail media networks is accelerating, fast. As these networks grow in number, scale, and diversity of offering, the opportunities for brands are growing right alongside. But so are the challenges to creating ROI-maximizing retail media network (RMN) strategies. In the latest article in The Drum, Zach Weinberg, VP of e-commerce at Matterkind, sets out the key considerations for successfully navigating the RMN ecosystem. Read the full article here.
To read more about how commerce, affiliate and other performance solutions are providing clients with +30% growth, visit our Outcome Navigator page.
Performance marketing has quickly become the darling of the digital marketing world. Of all the available channels, lead generation campaigns are among the most important, effective implements in the marketer’s toolbox, but they’re also the most potentially complex – and misunderstood. In the latest article in The Drum, Matterkind’s VP of lead generation strategy, Wendy Herzberg, lays out a four-point customer-centric blueprint for ensuring lead gen success.
Matterkind’s IMPACT group hosted an event last week to hear the testimony of a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, Ms. Toby Levy. I had the honor and privilege to introduce Ms. Levy before she spoke.
Ms. Levy described her childhood during the Holocaust. After the Nazis invaded Poland, she went into hiding with her family from 1942 to 1944. She knew that if they were discovered, they would most likely be sent to death camps and murdered, simply for being born Jewish. Ms. Levy also told her story a few years ago at a virtual forum, and one thing she said really struck me: After they emerged from hiding at the end of the war, her father hoped there were other survivors, but there was the possibility they were the only Jews left alive in Poland. “Someone has to survive because the world needs to know what happened,” he said, “Maybe it’s us.”
The world still needs to know what happened. Because the hatred and ignorance that fueled this genocide against the Jews still exists. And, so, we—all of us–have work to do. We must not be indifferent–indifferent to Ms. Levy’s story, indifferent to the history of the Holocaust, or indifferent to the antisemitism that currently occurs in society. Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said, “[T]he opposite of love is not hate but indifference.”
The sheer scale of the Holocaust is so great, it is easy to be indifferent. 6 million Jews were murdered by the time it ended in 1945: an unfathomable number. Complete villages and communities were systematically wiped out across Eastern Europe. Nearly 2 out of every 3 European Jews were killed, including 1 million children. Think about this: if you held a moment of silence for every victim of the Holocaust, you would be silent for 11.5 years. Elie Wiesel also once tried to explain how indescribable it was to witness a horrific scene where children were burned alive. “Words,” he said, “they die on my lips.”
We read about the Holocaust as history, but, as Ms. Levy’s presence at the event reminds us, it wasn’t so long ago. It occurred within my own parents’ lifetime. Antisemitism has been called the world’s oldest hatred, and it is remarkably persistent. The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jews were gunned down and 6 were wounded as they attended weekly Sabbath services on a Saturday morning, was the deadliest attack on Jews in US history. And it occurred in October 2018, less than five years ago. And just over the past year, the number of antisemitic incidents in the US increased by more than 35%, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Even the gunman of the Allen, Texas shooting on May 6th of this year was an avowed Neo-Nazi.
The refrain I heard regarding the Holocaust, while growing up within my Jewish community, was to “Never Forget.” It sometimes felt so passive, so inadequate to me. How can simply remembering the stories of what happened possibly be enough? There must be a way to be more active, to help keep the memory of those who were lost, alive. And yet: there is.
One simply cannot just “remember”, one must “bear witness.” To quote Barack Obama after he visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel: “May we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.” Absolutely, we should. Yet we must also hear the stories of the ones who, through sheer will and determination, not only survived the unimaginable, but thrived. Their lives counteract the hatred that tried to destroy them, and their strength manifests the power of the human spirit – that essential thing we all share, regardless of who we are, what we believe, and how we were born.
I have tried to bear witness in my own life. Growing up, our neighbor across the street was a man who survived Auschwitz with a tattooed number on his arm, and who was able to go on to live a beautiful life with a successful business, surrounded by loving friends and family. I remember sitting with him outside on a beautiful sunny spring day, where he turned to my family and said, matter-of-factly, that that day marked the anniversary of his liberation from the camp. He survived, he thrived. He did all the things that make life worth living. He’s still with us at 95 years old, he still bears witness. So must I. So must you. The world still needs to know what happened. We still have work to do.
So I ask you: Listen to Toby’s story, read the books, watch the films, and educate yourselves about what occurred. Remember: we are the last generation to hear these first-hand accounts from the people who lived through the Holocaust, survived, and transcended it. We are the ones who can ensure a future where this truly cannot, and will not, happen again.
As Ms. Levy once said: “I need all of you to remember me and be my witness.”
What can be more powerful and meaningful than bearing witness to her testimony and sharing her story? The world still needs to know what happened, so that the world may, in reality, never ever forget.
This time of year I scan and take inventory. Curated movie playlists. Check. MLK quotes and reinterpretations on social media. Check. Mainstream commercials featuring Black people. Check. Black working professionals on panels. Check.
I have a love/hate relationship with Black History Month. I’m proud that we have designated a month to elevate artists, professionals, educators, and social justice warriors across America. I’m disappointed that we only have 28 days to do it. I can appreciate that the streamers make it easier for me to find TV shows and movies featuring characters that look like me. I’m disappointed the Oscars are still “#SoWhite.” I get excited seeing the peers and colleagues that I know are brilliant speaking on high profile panels and giving speeches on their experience in the workplace. I’m grossed out that the average Black worker earns 20 percent less than a white worker. I praise the spotlight of historical heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but I wish people remembered lines from more than just that one speech.
I often find myself questioning the audience for Black History Month. As a kid, it was that one month when we read that one paragraph on slavery and then Phyllis Wheatley wrote a poem and then Martin Luther King marched on Washington. Historical documents and our educational system have been unfair to the contributions and full narrative of the Black American experience in this country. Most of us have had to supplement what we read in textbooks with the oral histories passed down through our families, and specialized university courses. My awareness of my ancestors’ history and our contributions in the U.S. and abroad is only marginally affected by the fact that it’s February. As a Black woman in America, I fill my cup daily with the triumphs and threats levied at my existence. I don’t need Black History Month to show me that.
But walks toward progress can’t be fueled by cynicism. I have to believe in the conceit of Black History Month. We DESERVE to be acknowledged, to be celebrated. I need to believe that because it’s February someone becomes more empathetic, more educated, and does less harm after consuming a piece of curated content that has made them think and feel something. I have to hope that the 28-day spotlight on us brings our full humanity into focus. I need to believe that because it’s February people are obliged to read more about allyship and anti-racism. I hope that our greater community is supporting with their dollars— that organizations are funneling their talent pipelines with people of color and making their current employees whole through additional opportunities. At this time, I challenge myself and everyone I know to buy from small Black businesses in our neighborhoods. And I need to believe that during this time, we are all questioning what we’re doing in our everyday lives to really be inclusive. This is the only way I can sleep at night knowing that tomorrow will be better.
About the Author
Patrice Drew is VP, Global Client Partner at Matterkind, the addressable media buying and strategy arm of IPG’s Data & Marketing Intelligence Engine, Kinesso. She has more than a decade of experience in media, specializing in digital, mobile, TV, and print data collection and analysis. She is a media strategist by trade who previously spent time scaling data and brand monetization efforts for such notable companies as Hearst, Meredith Corporation, and The New York Times. She credits her conscientious nature and curiosity to her career success.
As a private citizen, she is passionate about serving underrepresented groups. She’s an active member and national co-chair of Kinesso’s diversity and inclusion initiative, IMPACT, and volunteers with the organization God’s Love We Deliver.
Patrice earned her B.S. in Marketing and Spanish B.S. from New York University. She counts her music collection as one of her most prized possessions and enjoys writing, traveling and karaoke.
Erica Schmidt has led Matterkind for the past six years with a focus on a people-first approach to engaging audiences and driving brand growth regardless of channel on a global scale.
Now she’s been recognized for her achievements as the latest inductee into the MediaPost’s Online All-Stars. The award celebrates individuals in the online Creative, Media, and Marketing industries, who have pushed the business to new levels of excellence through their outstanding achievements and thought leadership.
It’s no secret tremendous inefficiency exists in the digital programmatic ecosystem. Audience fragmentation across platforms, browsers, and publishers has resulted in oversaturation of the same audiences, and programmatic advertising generally fails to achieve the best outcomes for advertisers. Equally as important, those on the receiving end of the digital experience are reduced to a ‘user’, ‘viewer’, or ‘clicker’ to be reached or exploited, and rarely treated with the respect and kindness they deserve as humans.
But Erica has guided the transformation of Matterkind into the people-centric, outcome-driven addressable marketing partner needed to establish and maintain direct relationships with customers amidst the ever-evolving privacy andmadtech landscape. Now more than ever, people demand more from their interactions with brands. A recent study shows 4 out of 5 customers believe experiences with a brand are as (or more!) important than the product or service itself. Thanks to Erica’s leadership, Matterkind is singularly focused on driving measurable business outcomes that matter for advertisers through marketing that’s kind to audiences.
“Responsible, addressable marketing is at the core of everything we do here at Matterkind – and that boils down to more than just who we are, but also how we work with our client partners and how we work internally.”
She’s also deeply committed to building a best-in-class culture at Matterkind and continues to push boundaries and break barriers for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition to her service to the Board of Directors for the Ad Council, she serves internally as the Chief Culture Officer across Matterkind’s parent company Kinesso, is a former Board Member of IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network and is the executive sponsor of Matterkind’s IMPACT Group: a network championing underrepresented groups in advertising technology across the US.
As 2022 arrives it’s sure to be another year of addressable expansion. The pandemic is driving addressable adoption, as are developments in data use and a desire to reach specific audiences at scale. This caused revenues to rise almost 25% in 2020, and rapid growth continued throughout 2021.
No longer just the domain of digital display (where nine in ten dollars [MJL(K1] are spent on addressable ads), addressability is expanding across channels. Whether we’re streaming shows on connected TV, strolling past digital billboards, or listening to podcasts, there’s a strong possibility the ads we’re exposed to are specifically selected for our eyes or ears.
The growth of addressable is undeniably positive. It enables relevant, respectful campaigns that put people at the center of marketing strategy. But as even more budgets are pushed into addressable, there will be a corresponding surge in complexity. Marketing teams must be equipped to accommodate this expansion with robust processes and workflow automation tools.
As two challenges collide
The shift to omnichannel addressability means increased sophistication in planning and activation. It’s tempting to believe that “addressable” connotes total automation. But the truth is there is no such thing as “setting and forgetting.” A lot of work is still required behind the scenes to plan and optimize against a brand’s desired outcomes. Potential platform and inventory partners must be vetted, complex campaign architecture must be built and quality assured, and live media must be policed to ensure brand safety, fraud, viewability, and frequency standards are met. Each new channel is a multiplier of volume and complexity.
And post-pandemic staff shortages aren’t helping the situation. Attracting talent for addressable activation is always challenging, with the ideal mix of analytical thinking, attention to detail, and proactive curiosity already hard to find. But now the “great resignation”, along with a loss of the city-based agency culture that was often appealing to entry-level employees, means attracting the right candidates and developing junior talent from within is even harder.
The combined issues of complexity and staff shortages are tough enough for agencies. But they’re felt even more sharply by the brands managing addressable themselves. Meeting these challenges by implementing tight operational processes and advanced workflow tools is critical for both agencies and brand marketing teams in the year ahead.
The mundane must-haves
I realize standardized processes and workflow automation tools aren’t exactly glamorous. They’re not the stuff of pitch decks, but agencies can certainly lose business due to their absence. Without them, minor mistakes can quickly erode trust and lead to costly makegoods. More holistically, when these bedrock systems aren’t in place, strategic decisions are inevitably based on what is achievable with existing resources rather than what is best for the brand.
Operational process begins with centralized project management to ensure important details aren’t lost in emails, instant messages, or local Word docs. Strong quality assurance processes must also be implemented, and clear swim lanes with well-defined roles and responsibilities introduced between departments. Finally, attention must be given to internal training to drive process understanding and adoption.
On the workflow automation side, campaign complexity is outpacing the capabilities of the vanilla bulk creation and editing tools found in most buying platforms. As a result, teams are furiously band-aiding their activation process with spreadsheets full of manual formulas and macros that are susceptible to human error. Mundane but crucial tasks, such as enforcing naming conventions and placement/creative mapping, often live outside of buying platforms, leaving them at the mercy of human bandwidth and attention to detail. All this needs to change.
Solving process and workflow not only allows for better advertising, it also improves morale and employee retention. Clarifying roles, streamlining mundane tasks, and reducing anxiety around manual errors is a good start, and consistent workflow helps alleviate burnout by allowing client rotation and smooth vacation coverage.
Where are we now?
The need for processes and tools to accommodate addressable acceleration is quickly being recognized across the industry. Some demand-side platforms (DSPs) are expanding existing bulk tools to do more of the heavy lifting, but these third-party solutions will continue to be piecemeal solves. Some marketers are simplifying to a single technology stack, but this restricts them to one ecosystem and limits their options.
We’re in a lucky position at Matterkind because we’ve been developing and deploying workflow tools for years, in close collaboration with our sister technology company Kinesso. We have a global team with a wide portfolio of experience that spans verticals, platforms,and campaign types, with the ability to pool our extensive knowledge base into a unique sounding board to inform the tools Kinesso creates.
But even our advanced processes and tools are being put to the test by the current situation. We’re constantly working to ensure each account team across the globe has access to a foundational arsenal of solutions that provide a universal level of standards and support, while also allowing customization to fit the needs of specific clients and situations.
With the volume of spend pouring into addressable media only set to increase, and staff shortages unlikely to be resolved any time soon, I’m convinced the coming year will be a transformative one. Those that tighten up their operational processes and make the most of automated workflow tools will be best placed to achieve the outcomes brands expect in 2022.
Employee giving and volunteering programs aren’t just a check the box exercise. They’re incredibly powerful for attracting, keeping, and growing talent – which is fantastic for business!
This is especially important today, as we find ourselves amidst the Great Resignation. Around the world, the pressure is on employers to find ways to transform their corporate cultures to meet the career needs of workers, but also to be positive influences on their communities.
There is a growing demand for competitive benefits that go beyond the standard that employees have come to expect – like paid leave, health insurance, and retirement plans. Employee giving and volunteering programs not only benefit businesses and people, but they are also far less common, which makes them perfect for setting your business apart.
At Kinesso and Matterkind, we see giving back as a core element of our corporate culture. As well as regular fundraisers and events, we have a dedicated week each year where all employees can take paid time off to volunteer for causes they’re passionate about.
To help illustrate the tangible business benefits of an effective employee giving and volunteering program, we’ve pulled together some interesting research as well as responses from our recent anonymous Kinesso and Matterkind employee survey.
So, what are five of the tangible business benefits of an effective employee giving and volunteering program?
There are currently millions of job openings across the global economy. In fact, findings from the Q4 2021 ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey show that employers in 14 countries (the U.S. and UK included) have the highest-ever hiring plans since the survey began in 1962. In addition, 69% of employers report difficulty filling vacancies – a 15-year high for the second consecutive quarter.
Employee giving and volunteering programs can be a real differentiator and an attractive reason to join an organization. Even in 2016, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 58% of employees would consider social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and 55% would choose to work for a socially responsible company even if the salary was less.
Today, the demand for purpose has grown even stronger. According to Edelman Trust, “the employee is now as belief-driven in selecting and staying with a company as a consumer is in buying and sticking with a brand.”
At Kinesso and Matterkind, our teams have been involved in a wealth of impactful activities – from charitable walks, tree planting, and volunteering for charities, to the donation of food, clothes, and money to social causes. When we invited employees to provide feedback on what giving, volunteering, and awareness-raising activities mean to them, a similar sentiment was clear throughout most responses: giving back is necessary and rewarding.
“For me, it means passing on some of the many blessings I have received in my life and to complete the purpose of man which is to care for the people and world around us,” one employee shared.
“It feels good to make the world better than it was before me,” said another.
“Making a small impact to improve someone’s life is incredibly rewarding.”
Time set aside for employees to create connections and build relationships with their co-workers is never time wasted. HBR research during the pandemic found that workers around the world place a higher priority on having a “good relationship with coworkers” than on many other job attributes.
In our internal employee feedback survey, several respondents commented on how our corporate initiatives helped them bond with their team. “It felt great to give back, volunteer my time and bond with my team,” said one volunteer who took part in our tree planting project with Greening of Detroit.
For workforces that are split across different regions or where many people continue to work remotely, volunteering events are a brilliant way to bring people together.
Ethan Chamberlin, EVP of Matterkind, who organized the Greening of Detroit event, said: “It was a great opportunity to help the community and meet more of the new team members hired during the pandemic. We had a group lunch in a local park following the event and got to spend some additional time getting to know each other.”
Giving and volunteering programs also empower employees to learn new skills and potentially develop their leadership skills by taking charge of an event, organizing information for the team, or leading sub-committees. Events that bring people together across all levels give colleagues in non-leadership roles the opportunity to develop and display their talents.
Volunteering is also a safe place to try out new skills, to dig into tasks and opportunities that may be more intimidating in a work setting. This can work wonders for a person’s confidence, and in return they will bring those newly developed leadership skills back to their workplaces, as well!
Mental and emotional wellness
In a UnitedHealth Group’s study, Doing Good is Good for You, 93% of respondents reported an improved mood, 79% reported lower stress levels, and 88% reported increased self-esteem by giving back. While this research was done pre-pandemic, it’s more relevant than ever. One of the key reasons many say we are in the middle of the Great Resignation is because employees are no longer willing to compromise their mental and emotional well-being for their employers.
In a time where employers are looking to differentiate themselves from the competition, employee giving and volunteering programs are a great way place to start. Not only are they good for business, but they make for happier, healthier employees and better communities. That’s a win for everyone.
Let’s be honest, the pandemic has affected us all; but it’s been particularly traumatic to those who were already struggling prior to the current world health crisis. Every day, we bear witness to the very spacious gap between the haves and have nots. For example, you may overhear people speaking in a café that serves $6 coffee about the unbelievable stress they are going through during these times. Meanwhile, just outside a homeless person is sifting through garbage bins for food and asking passersby for change.
The good news – you can do something about it!
Supporting others isn’t solely in the hands of big corporate entities with millions or billions of dollars. Anyone can contribute a small amount of their financial success and spare time to help someone in need. By starting locally with the essentials, we can create a ripple effect that extends beyond our neighborhoods and impacts the world.
And speaking from experience, few people know this better than our veterans. We have served not only as our nation’s defenders, but also as a humanitarian force both abroad and stateside. Giving aid to people in some of the world’s most inhospitable environments, we bring the same efforts to local families in need. Every year since 1947, the United States Marine Corps has been collecting and distributing toys to less fortunate children during Christmas around the US. The Frontline for Veterans in Media group at Matterkind wanted to bring this same sense of commitment to the workplace and have steadily been able to expand the popular Toys for Tots campaign to include Kinesso as well. Today, our 4th annual drive is in full swing!
Improvise,Adapt, and Overcome
Considering the challenging events of the last two years, Toys for Tots and Kinesso/Matterkind have chosen to lean on the unofficial Marine Corps mantra – IMPROVISE,ADAPT, and OVERCOME. During 2020, Toys for Tots had to transition from an in-person toy collection at designated locations to a mostly virtual online system for donations. Partnering with You Give Goods has allowed each of our offices to continue serving our local communities and has broadened our idea of what it looks like to ‘give back.’
This year as we ramped up our 2021 Toys for Tots initiative, we began to consider using this partnership to do more by helping out families struggling with food scarcity as well. As luck would have it, the same resources and capabilities deployed for our Toys for Tots drive were also able to be utilized for our 2021 Holiday Food Drive. Never to stand on the sidelines, our sister agency IPG DXTRA heard about all of our hard work and offered to co-sponsor our outreach this year.
So, what is it I want you to know? The past two years have been difficult for all of us. When it gets too hard, try leaning into gratitude for all you do have. A little bit can go a long way. Simply paying for someone’s meal or donating a few hours of your time to a nonprofit of your choice can make significant impact. Veterans have served their country and continue to serve for their community. They could serve as a model for all of us for their dedication and commitment.
When there is a will, there is a way. New environments and new rules call us to IMPROVISE, ADAPT, and OVERCOME.
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