It’s the holiday season and the opportune time to give to the community in which you work. Getting together as a company to help others is not only a great deed in itself, but it also inspires teamwork and cultural growth in the group. We sat down with Sal Ferro of Alure Home Improvements to discuss his especially prolific community outreach efforts, and how he fights (figuratively and literally) for his company and employees to be better and work harder.
Last week, we discussed culture and community, and the intrinsic link between the two. The next step is how to get started (and continue) in community outreach. According to Sal, it’s all about balance, support, passion, and hard work. What it’s NOT about is marketing, exposure, and serving your own advertising agenda.
MB: What would you recommend for businesses that are looking into getting involved in community service for the first time? Where should you start?
Sal: I believe that the easiest way to give back is in the community that you work—because that’s the community that’s servicing us, and allowing us to succeed and thrive. Get involved with something for which you have a passion. Look to someone connected to you, if you have kids, etc., because it’s easier to do things that are already part of your everyday life. Look to your employees and see what they’re doing. I trust the charities of my employees, like the ones their kids are involved in, and I really try and support those things. I think it’s important that you’re not just helping strangers, but you’re out there helping internally too. For example, we had two of our employees that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, and we reacted right away because we were in a position to help them.
MB: You’ve had the opportunity to work with Extreme Makeover Home Edition on this national platform. How do you operate on the more local level?
Sal: Not everything we do has to be on national TV. Building a handicapped-accessible bathroom for a kid with MS—that’s not something where we’re waving a banner in the street, ‘hey, come here and see what we’re doing!’ These are things you’re doing as a human being. I think we’ve got a huge social responsibility to support and help each other, and we’ve got a responsibility to help the unmet needs that are out there. We’re blessed with a level of success that I think it’s only fair that we give back and try and meet those needs.
MB: You mention that not everything is for TV or marketing efforts. I think it’s sometimes difficult for people to walk that line between advertising your company, and doing something for a selfless reason. How have you found that balance?
Sal: Well, it starts off—I don’t feel like I’m a self-serving individual. I feel I do it from the heart, and I don’t have any ulterior motives. There’s no agenda. At the end of the day, I do these things because it’s a passion for me. I think that’s so important. I just left a local organization called Holiday House to make sure one of their buildings is safe. If I stay true to the cause, if I stay true to the passion and I don’t allow it to be self-serving, then it works great. I’m focusing on doing it for the right reason.
Building a culture and a company mentality around giving is hard work. It takes time, patience, and dedication. But isn’t the end result inspiring? Giving to the community in which you work, as a company, builds passion within the ranks. It makes people proud to work for you, and the community proud to serve you. Now, the big question:
Will you take Sal’s advice and help in the community this holiday season? If so, share it in the comments below. Help inspire others to act!