As dental practice owners, we often find ourselves caught up in the daily operations, striving for excellence in patient care and business success. However, there is a transformative power that lies in embracing a culture of giving in dentistry – a power that not only impacts your practice's growth but also resonates deeply with your team and community.
Dentistry is one of those professions that “intrinsically” supports or reinforces the concept of “giving back.” There is something about the power and effect of changing a person's smile because of our services that can dramatically change lives. It is extremely fulfilling. That feeling of fulfillment exudes a desire or thirst to provide charitable opportunities that affords others less fortunate to experience a positive impact and a sense of gratification.
If you are not already, why should you invest in a culture of giving?
The positive impact philanthropic work can have on your practice, your team, and your community is immeasurable. Building a culture of philanthropy is about intertwining this spirit of generosity into the very fabric of your practice.
For Your Team
The ripple effects are immeasurable. When your team unites around a common cause – a cause beyond the dental chair – they become more motivated, engaged, and fulfilled, fostering an environment of camaraderie and shared purpose.
For Your Patients
Your patients will notice the difference. They will sense the authenticity of a team driven by a genuine desire to make the world a better place. This can resonate with patients on a personal level, enhancing patient loyalty and trust.
For Your Practice Reputation
The impact on your practice's reputation is profound. In an era where community involvement matters, your philanthropic initiatives become your practice's voice, conveying your values and dedication beyond dental expertise. Positive word-of-mouth spreads, attracting patients who share your vision for a compassionate and impactful dental care experience.
Growing a Culture of Giving in Dentistry
With all this in mind, and #GivingTuesday, the National Day of Giving coming up at the end of November, there are many ways you can get your practice involved in philanthropic activities – perhaps a free dental clinic for the underprivileged, oral health workshops at local schools, or partnering with a charitable organization, just to name a few. The possibilities are as diverse as the smiles you create.
Engage your team in the planning process. Let them take ownership of these initiatives. When team members feel empowered to contribute to causes, they are passionate about, their dedication deepens.
The culture of giving that you cultivate within your practice can set you apart in a competitive landscape. Highlight your philanthropic endeavors on your website, social media, and patient communications. Let the world see the positive change you are fostering.
Here are some specific ways my dental practice has built a culture of giving:
- Our dental practice continues to engage in “give back” programs for underserved or less fortunate individuals. The entire team engages in these programs. At Christmas, a “giving tree” is placed in the staff lounge. Hanging from the branches are tags with names and ages of children whose families are struggling to provide them a “merry” Christmas. These family names come from the local churches' roster of needy families. One of our team members volunteers each year to manage this program.
- On Veterans' Day, the office opens and serves veterans in need of dental services at no charge. Team members volunteer to staff the day and support this special cause and these heroes.
- The dentists and clinical staff also volunteer and participate in the local dental society's “Free” dental clinic day offered on an annual basis. Staffed by volunteer members of many regional dental teams, this annual event serves hundreds of underserved patients living in the area.
Here are additional resources that can help get your #givingtuesday kicked off:
- American Dental Association: Give Kids A Smile
- Oral Cancer Foundation: Become a Screening Partner
- Team Smile: Volunteer Your Time
- America’s Tooth Fairy: In the Gap Program
“Giving back” is a mindset. I believe most dentists inherently have this state of mind by the nature of the impact of the services they provide their patients. Those feelings of fulfillment and actualization received drive us to share that spirit with others that are less fortunate. I encourage you to add to the culture of giving in dentistry by starting your own traditions with your team.
Jeffrey Bonk, D.D.S., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.