Charitable giving from businesses and their employees has an enormous positive impact on people and communities every day. There are so many options today as a business owner for partners and programs that it can be overwhelming when trying to select and implement a program. Charitable giving shouldn’t be stressful! In fact, it should be a fun and rewarding process for you and your employees. It can even have a positive impact on your bottom line. The right opportunity can improve employee engagement, increase retention, engage your customers, create new business opportunities, and attract new hires. However, finding the ideal fit for your business can be challenging.
5 Steps to Create a Better Charity Experience
1. Begin Your Search Focused
If your business tries to select one charity program from the thousands of possible programs out there it would be very stressful and overwhelming just to choose a program before you even try to participate. Before you even begin to search for a way to give back for your business use the following considerations to help you begin focused. Starting focused will save you lots of wasted time:
Consider your industry
Look for natural areas where needs in your community and your industry intersect. You might have an abundance of a certain skill or resource that could fill a giant hole in your community needs depending on your business and industry. Once you consider where your industry lines up with needs in your communities, there are often very obvious charity partnerships that just make sense.
Consider your employees
What would your employees get excited about? Consider what they are interested in or the community programs they might already be connected to. Is there a good fit culturally among your employees and the resources they have? Consider the obstacles and challenges that might keep your employees from participating in certain programs. Help them overcome these challenges. For example, would children at home be an obstacle to participation? Find something they can do that involves their kids!
Consider your location
Limit your search to your immediate geographical location and community. Looking nationwide may be too overwhelming. A local charity often allows a higher level of connection between your employees and the cause they are helping. Often local charities are the most underfunded and receptive to help of any kind.
Consider your desired positive outcomes
While the cause or people who you are helping needs to remain in the forefront; please consider the secondary benefits of your giving.. With careful planning and strategy your company might benefit on a financial level (tax write-offs), on a PR/marketing level (public perception and increased exposure), and/or on a recruitment level (potential employees viewing your business in positive light).
Consider your resources
Don’t limit “giving” to only money. Your business and your employees possess unique resources like time, skills, materials, and knowledge. There are even ways your employees can donate time with their pets! Consider all of the charities that have need for clothes, service, friendship, and mentorship. The possibilities are endless. Again, look for a natural fit for the resources you have readily available. If you align these with a charity need it will allow you to “maximize” your giving and impact on your community.
2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Too often businesses feel they need to create a charity program from scratch. Overlooking the hundreds of giving options that are already organized and operating is a common mistake. One of the biggest challenges in setting up a new charity program is connecting your giving with those in need. Use organizations and resources that exist already to help you connect with those in need easily and quickly. This way you can focus on “giving” instead of “finding.” No need to reinvent the wheel! Support something or someone who has already taken care of the details. Try to mirror what others have been doing or simply use them as a resource.
Designate someone to “champion” the charity effort for your business, don’t try to go at it alone! Seek out a champion who is passionate about this role, who will help excite other employees and keep them motivated to give. Many businesses form volunteer committees whose purpose is to manage these efforts internally. This will help keep your stress levels lower and it will also help increase employee buy-in.
4. Focus on Results
Once you have selected a charity partner, make sure you have a plan in place to continuously update and connect your employees’ giving to their results. More often than not, the results of efforts will be instant and obvious. Other times you will need to make results more apparent and this can look many different ways. It’s critical to find a way to show the impact created. You may find telling a story that illustrates the results, creating something visual to show the progress of your efforts, or making updates via social media can be very effective. If your program extends over a few months or even a year, it’s even more critical to keep everyone updated. Seeing the results of their efforts is both rewarding and motivating!
5. Remember Why
Giving efforts should be first and foremost focused on helping those in need. Clearly communicate why you’re involved in the charity chosen. Make the experience fun, engaging, and supportive of your company culture. You want your employees to feel like it’s an awesome opportunity rather than an obligation. This will change everything! Make participation something they can be proud of. Add some gamification elements or make a contest to increase participation.
In summary, start focused. A charity program doesn’t have to be complicated and burdensome. Make it a success for you, your community, your employees, and your business! It will take some planning, but consider the many ways you can participate without adding too much to your own plate. We hope these tips help you find a partnership that fits your business perfectly and allows you to help others beyond what you thought was possible.
Don’t forget to consider donating things that government assistance doesn’t cover for families; like cleaning supplies, basic paper products, and personal hygiene products.
We are always trying to find ways to make the lives employers a little less stressful. Don’t allow stress to take-over your life during the holidays. We love to give back to the community and bless others around us. We view it as an expression of being thankful for what we have been given.
To Get Your Wheels Turning…
Click here to see a list of ideas to get you started
- Call the local Veteran’s Home or local nursing facilities and see what their needs are for those that have served us.
- Adopt a family for the holiday season… go to volunteer groups to find out needs of your neighbors in the community that supports your business.
- Take your employees, kids and their friends on a trash walk and clean up a local park.
- Learn how to turn your volunteer idea into a successful service project using our do-it-yourself toolkits from our government.
- Be a big brother or a big sister.
- Put together a birthday bag or holiday stocking for a child living in a shelter.
- Volunteer or donate to a local food bank or soup kitchen.
- Send a package or letter to a solider
- Collect and turn in your box tops for education.
- Team up with a friend and find a local Meals on Wheels program.
- Pick flowers, put them in mason jars, and brighten up your local senior center
- Share Your Pet- Your pet makes you smile, so maybe he can make someone else smile too! Consider bringing your pet to a local senior center, veteran’s club or hospital to bring some joy to the residents. Of course, this may not be the right choice for every pet or every location, so be sure to consider the demeanor of your pet, the needs of the patients, and the policy of the location before you try giving back in this way.
- Double Your Dessert – Next time you’re baking for a family or work event, consider doubling your batch and bringing the extras to a local police station, veteran club, senior home or soup kitchen. You’re already baking your specialty, and there are plenty of places that will appreciate your skills!
- Head To The Web for ideas- Looking for some other way to give back in your community? Head to VolunteerMatch.org to find opportunities closest to you. You might be surprised how many ways there are to give back right in your neighborhood!