While we know one person can make a difference, we have all seen the extraordinary impact produced when people come together in support of a common cause.  Oftentimes the responsibility to give back is placed in the hands of individual consumers.  In actuality, cultivating this cooperative spirit needs to extend beyond individuals into the hands of an organization.  Businesses within our community already have a captive audience in their employees and their customers, and they tend to have more resources to share across a community.  With so much at their disposal, we can look to them for help driving this spirit.

Truly making a meaningful difference requires organizations to do more than just write a check to a nonprofit organization at the end of each year.  The difference happens when an opportunity is created for the members of their audience to be part of something bigger, something greater than the impact of one.  Through such giving campaigns, businesses encourage the collective giving spirit.

Consider Affinity Plus as an example.  We see our cooperative structure as one of the greatest assets to promote giving.  Therefore, when our members use, advocate, and support Affinity Plus, they earn points that can be redeemed for the services they value which include making charitable donations. We also promote active community engagement by hosting drives across our branch network and even give each employee eight hours of paid leave to support local organizations throughout the year. 

Affinity Plus isn’t alone in these giving efforts. Many of our community partners offer unique opportunities to participate and give.  Thomson Reuters supports employee giving through a global matching gift program.  Cara Irish Pubs sells Finnegan’s to help turn beer into food.  And, a student group at the University of Minnesota hosts an annual dance marathon to raise money for pediatric health.  These examples demonstrate how just a few of our partners are driving organizational engagement while encouraging giving.  There are so many others.  The question is, are you making the most of your participation in the organizations to which you belong?

During this season of giving, we encourage you to take a moment to consider the ways your participation can contribute to something bigger.