How to Build a Give-Back Culture: A Conversation with Mike Henkel, Owner, President and Founder at QSRSoft

Giving back, whether to individuals or communities who need it, makes our world a little bit better. And aside from corporate philanthropy simply being the right thing to do, it also has real benefits for companies. Building a give-back work culture creates stronger, more cohesive teams, attracts and retains talent, and fosters a loyal bond with customers and employees alike.  

QSRSoft is highly dedicated to giving back to the community because Mike Henkel made it a priority from day one. We had a chat with Henkel to discuss how he got started, and what he learned along the way. 

As Owner and Founder, Henkel is the driving force behind QsrSoft’s charity work. “I feel very strongly that you have an obligation to not just take out of a community, but to give back to it,” explains Henkel. As a result, QSRSoft focuses their efforts on two charities: Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and Mission Lazarus.  

Helping Families in Need: Ronald McDonald House Charities 

What started at an RMHC charity dinner, which Henkel attended with his family, made a much larger impact on Henkel. “I had always assumed that McDonald’s as a corporation funded the RMHC, but come to find out that it’s entirely funded by those change boxes on the counters of McDonald’s restaurants,” says Henkel. “I was really taken aback by how much people can do just by rounding up the change from their orders. And once you start hearing their heartfelt stories—especially about sick children fighting for their lives—you think ‘I should get involved.’ I have four kids myself, so those stories really touched my heart.” 

After winning Super Bowl tickets at that charity dinner, Henkel decided to donate tickets to RMHC’s Kids & Clays program the following year. Kids and Clays expanded on the prize by adding airfare and hotel accommodations. And from there, a culture of giving back was born. 

Uplifting Employees Through Charity Work 

Today, Henkel and his employees at QSRSoft have ventured to downtown Chicago and surrounding areas to volunteer making meals for those in need, and to support RMHC events. “We encourage our employees to get involved when and where they can,” Henkel says. “Not only are they meeting and connecting with customers at these events, but they’re hearing the story of RMHC, which really inspires them to get involved.” 

But volunteer work isn’t just good for the community; it also has an uplifting effect on employees. “Depression is hitting a lot of people hard right now,” Henkel observes. “I just read an article about employee assistance programs needing support because employees are depressed from not getting out. Charity work really helps with that. It forces you to focus, not on yourself, but on others. You also get to experience the joy of supporting people and communities who need it. And that’s the culture I want to build at QSRSoft: a culture of giving back, and having fun doing it.” 

Creating Jobs and Hope with Mission Lazarus 

Along with RMHC, QSRSoft works with Mission Lazarus, an organization that supports communities in Honduras and Haiti that have been ravaged by poverty and natural disasters. The organization provides education, healthcare, and economic support to local residents. Henkel and his family were first introduced to Mission Lazarus through their church, and was instantly inspired. “They rebuild houses, provide free healthcare, provide clean water sources, and do a lot of good in the community,” says Henkel. “And rather than just giving people money, they also give them jobs, which gives them hope.” 

The Ripple Effect of a Give-Back Culture 

When it comes to crafting a work culture that includes charity work, it not only inspires employees, it also attracts them. “It shows prospective employees that you’re not just out for the money,” Henkel explains. “During COVID, people took a breath only to come right back to the rat race. So, I think it’s refreshing to work for a company that cares. And I think if you’re a company that cares about your employees, you’re also a company that cares about giving back to your community.” 

But the benefits don’t stop there. Henkel has found a surprising effect from his and his employees’ charitable efforts: “Once people saw us getting involved, they wanted to get in on it too. That’s what’s great about charity work—it tends to attract more people who want to pitch in.” 

How to Get Started Giving Back 

What advice does Henkel have for other CEOs and Business Owners who are interested in getting involved with charities? “I would recommend that if they’re not already doing it, they’re missing an opportunity to, not only do good, but connect with their clients,” asserts Henkel. “Our clients don’t look at us as their vendor, they look at us as their partner, even friend. That may sound trite, but I believe if you asked them, they would say that they know we’re there for them. Clients are so touched by the fact that you reached out to help others, and they look at you differently from then on. It’s good for the charity, it’s good for your business, and it’s good for your employees.” 

So, where to start? “I think it’s all about ‘What can you do locally?’” Henkel answers. There are so many really great programs out there, and it’s not hard to find them if you just look.” 

If you’d like to start a corporate charity program, here’s a directory of charities and nonprofits to get you started. You can also join QSRSoft in our charitable endeavors. To find out how you can help us make a difference, contact us