At Common, we’ve always prioritized cultivating an internal community within our member network through city-wide activities, member-organized events, and connection through our Connect by Common app. Due to the recent stay-at-home order for COVID-19, we’ve shifted our strategy to offering virtual events for our entire national community to keep everyone safe while at home. However, our Member Experience team wanted to go above and beyond virtual events and get creative on how we could still support our members, even if it was in a less tangible way than covering their pizza night!We caught up with Brooke Herda, an Onboarding and Experience Manager on the Member Experience team at Common, on how we’ve helped members and employees support their favorite local businesses and charities with the new “Common Gives Back” program!
Hi Brooke! Can you tell us a bit more about how Common Gives Back began?
It all started when we heard about a member donating her clothing to a local charity. We thought, “Why can’t we help back her donation and make it go even further?” Our team realized that we could utilize some of the resources normally allocated towards member events for helping member donations stretch even further.We fully acknowledge that everyone during this time has their own unique financial struggles and stresses, so our goal has never been to pressure members to donate. However, if they were already giving back, we thought it would be the perfect way to come alongside their efforts and maximize the good being done!
What specifically is involved in the Common Gives Back program?
Instead of us blindly selecting organizations to give to, we wanted to help support businesses that our members already loved. Currently, Common has allocated up to $200 per city per month to match any member’s donation made to a local business or charity. Since this is still a fairly new initiative, we’ve sent out a survey to all of our members and employees for suggestions to add to our database.To add a fun spin, we are currently running a contest between our East Coast and West Coast homes! Members can submit a COVID-relief related donation they have made in the past month, and Common will then randomly select three entries on the winning coast to donate an additional $100 to an organization or business of their choice.
Can you give us an example of how we have started to match and support member donations?
Absolutely! My favorite story is how we sent pizza to NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn. When we announced the program, a member at Common Baltic reached out asking if we could donate pizza to his coworkers working long hours. We sent over a pizza feast from a local pizzeria to show our appreciation! Not only were we able to help support a local pizzeria, but we were thrilled to be able to help feed the hard-working hospital workers.
Have we implemented anything similar internally with our employees?
Yes, we have! We reached out to our entire team this month to ask how they have been giving back. To no surprise, we got an overwhelming amount of responses and compiled them into a running database of local businesses that we can give to in the future. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the businesses and organizations our employees are passionate about:
“I donated to my favorite local restaurant’s gofundme page that is helping pay the salaries of cooks, bartenders, and waitresses.” -Molly Graizzaro, Senior Manager of Communications, for Bernie’s & Frankel’s Employee Fund (New York, NY)
“They provide dog and cat food to those in the community who cannot afford to feed their pets during these times.” – Alexandra Paffilas, People Operations Manager, for San Diego Humane Society (San Diego, CA)
“NYC Outward Bound Schools is a nonprofit supporting education in the city I have been involved with for many years as a member of the Junior Board. Public Schools have obviously moved to fully virtual education and our annual fundraising gala has been canceled in May but we are still trying to raise money to support our students during these challenging times.” – Charlie Boutwell, Director of Real Estate, for NYC Outward Bound Schools (New York, NY)
Do you have any suggestions for how we can give back?
We would love to hear about any amazing organizations or local businesses we can support! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to look into it. For more information on our virtual events and tips for hosting your own, head over to our latest blog post.