One of the last things I noticed about Alcott Marketing Science was one of the first reasons I wanted to work here. And that's that our company gives half - you read that right - HALF of our annual profits away to charitable causes of our employees' choosing.
When I noticed that - in small type, buried deep within the company's website - I wasn't sure I'd understood it correctly.
Most of my experience has been with publicly traded corporations where the financial goal is to create more return for shareholders. The notion of giving away 50% of the profit to non-shareholders would not make sense.
But Alcott Marketing Science doesn't have shareholders. It has clients, partners and employees whose mission - at and beyond the workplace - is to elevate the communities around them. That begins with lifting our clients' businesses through smart marketing tied strategically to the highest quality data analysis, and it carries on with lifting our communities through heartfelt investment of our own profitability.
If we are doing our jobs well, everyone benefits - including nonprofits, community groups and tiny organizations who can't necessarily afford our top-shelf marketing and technology services. Because we've made our revenue goals, we can afford to help others. And we do.
I asked my new colleagues to share with me their thoughts on this socially conscious aspect of our business model, an element some have been reluctant to talk too much about because we'd rather our work speak for itself.
That's not without merit, but after 8 years of this model, I think I've talked them into letting others in on our little social enterprise secret here at Alcott. I'm a journalist by background and heck, this is a great little business story! I also think that, like me, others may be surprised and perhaps even inspired to find our own ways to give back through socially conscious business practices.
Alcott's core strength is in our brainpower - in the development of sophisticated, highly targeted data strategies for large, complex companies who want to target their messaging and expand their reach to new audiences.
But our motivation? It's in our hearts.
I'll let a few of my colleagues speak for themselves.
Katie Buntin, Project Manager: "Learning that Alcott places such high importance on giving back part of our profits was one of the things that drew me most to this company when I was interviewing. We aim for profit, but our goals don't end there–we aim to profit so that we can give back with our earnings. It's nice to know that when we work hard for the client, we're also working hard toward our goal of giving back to those who need an extra hand."
Brad Schreiber, Applications Developer: "One of the organizations I chose to donate (our company profits to) was the V foundation for cancer research. It was setup by Jim Valvano and his family after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was a college basketball coach and because of that he was able to team with ESPN to provide a bigger stage for raising awareness. This is a great organization because 100% of direct donations go straight to cancer research."
Rebecca Brown, Marketing Coordinator: "I always hoped my job would involve helping others in some way, so it's extremely rewarding to know that the work I am doing is making a difference!"
Jennifer Stone, Data Analyst: "I've supported two organizations for projects in my hometown - a Donor's Choose classroom at the elementary school I went to that needed books and the public library. I literally lived three doors down from the library growing up; books were how I spent my childhood. The opportunity to give back a bit to both the library and my old school was just perfect."