The law firm Sheppard Mullin participated in the Pride parade in San Francisco in 2018. (Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM) The law firm Sheppard Mullin participated in the Pride parade in San Francisco in 2018. (Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM)

One of the most powerful ways a business can give back and make an impact in its community is to recognize and support awareness month campaigns. While there are many awareness month campaigns to consider, they all strive to raise awareness and understanding for a particular group or cause.

In supporting one or more of these awareness months, financial advisors are able to demonstrate their company’s mission and values, engage their employees and clients in a more meaningful way, and raise awareness for important causes. When choosing to engage with a particular awareness month, however, there are a few key factors advisors should consider.

Evaluate Your Business Values and People

Before deciding which awareness month campaign(s) you’d like your company to support, advisors first need to look at their business values and consider how their involvement with an initiative would align with their company’s specific values — this will ensure authenticity through action. There are a number of widely recognized awareness months and days you can choose from. To determine whether or not you should pursue a particular awareness campaign or engage with an awareness month, ask yourself three questions: Will this work for our company’s values? Will this work for our business — both our clients and our colleagues? What is our bandwidth, specifically regarding scale, timing, frequency and audience?

If one of your core values is “respect for all,” for example, supporting Pride Month would be a natural extension of this value and a proof point of your organization’s commitment to respect through inclusion. When determining your company’s involvement in similar awareness months, it’s crucial that you evaluate your capabilities and available resources and consider your employees’ and clients’ support for the initiative.

In fact, many months have multiple groups or cultures recognized within that month and it is likely your business will need to decide on which one you will support. One way to do this is to survey your employees and clients to determine which awareness months they feel strongly about and would respond well to. While you won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s preferences, this will ensure you have a pulse on your clients’ values and demonstrate that you’re listening.

See Challenges as Opportunities for Further Engagement

You may have employees or clients who don’t support the awareness month campaign you choose. That’s OK. Rather than seeing these differing viewpoints as a threat to your efforts or a reason to disband with the campaign altogether, you should view them as an opportunity for meaningful discussion and company growth. Providing ways to start conversations and encourage employees and clients to voice their opinions — rather than shutting down those opinions or ignoring feedback — reinforces company values, like inclusivity and respect, and has the potential to deepen relationships.

While awareness month campaigns are concentrated during one specific time of the year, your engagement with them doesn’t have to be limited to that month. Advisors can maintain the momentum long after the month is over by creating opportunities for ongoing discussion and engagement among employees and clients. This can include hosting events, conducting client surveys and leading employee focus groups.

Events are a great way to foster community engagement by energizing, inspiring and connecting advisors, staff, and clients to the larger community. Surveys allow advisors to better understand what’s important to their clients and the key messages that resonate. Hosting focus groups provides management with first-hand feedback from employees and helps employees feel engaged and valued. Utilizing all (or even some) of these tools will enable advisors to not only strengthen their company’s mission and brand but also continue doing good and making a difference in the lives of the people they support and serve.


Gary Zyla, CFO, AssetMarkGary Zyla is executive vice president, chief financial officer and human resources leader at AssetMark Inc., an SEC-registered investment adviser. AssetMark is a proud supporter of Pride Month.