This column is part of a series formed from a partnership between Entrepreneur and NFL Players Inc. Click here to see the other columns.
Philanthropy is part of who I am, and giving back to the community is a way of life for me and my brother, Terrence Holt. Through the Holt Brothers Foundation, we support children who have a parent with cancer. Our mission has a true purpose because we lost our mom to cancer.
There’s no greater feeling, no greater satisfaction, than knowing you’re making a difference. But giving back to your community is also good for business. Think about it. Philanthropy helps build relationships with clients and potential clients. It helps build and support your brand. It promotes employee engagement. And let’s face it: good corporate citizens want to do business with others who share their values.
Let me give a great example. Our foundation hosts the Holt Brothers Playoff Party during the AFC and NFC Championship Games to raise money for our grant programs. It’s pretty informal – jeans, game jerseys, football, beer and great food. A lot of our sponsors are companies we work with in the construction industry. Through this event, we have gotten to know them and they’ve gotten to know us in a totally different way. We’ve had clients tell us they want to do business with us because of our passion. It’s an unintended consequence, but philanthropy is helping us build customer loyalty.
Building your brand.
Philanthropy also builds and supports a brand. Think of the NFL and United Way. The league has done a great job associating itself and the guys with a successful organization that does good work for communities throughout the country. You feel good when you see a player sitting at a desk, coloring with a bunch of kids and joking with them.
I once read a quote that really stuck with me, “A well-developed philanthropic program will resonate with clients on a deep, emotional level that goes beyond any creative ad campaign.” In other words, the act of giving back evokes emotion and fosters an authentic connection. That’s exactly what’s at work with the NFL–United Way partnership.
Building employee engagement.
We’ve also found that philanthropy as a core value promotes employee engagement. It infuses passion in those around you. It gives employees more energy and drive. After all, who doesn’t want to be a part of something bigger?