In 2020, if you’re looking for one way to:
- engage your employees,
- improve the company culture, and
- unite a spread-out workforce,
incorporating charitable activities into your calendar is the way to go.
While workforce culture and engagement are discussed more today than ever before, there’s still a lot of room for improvement:
- Gallup found 34% of U.S. employees in 2018 were engaged in their work, which tied for the highest percentage since 2000.
- Additionally, 71% of employees say it’s imperative or very important to work where culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.
Even though telecommuting employees increase each year (the work-from-home employee segment has grown 115% since 2005), most employees still want to connect with one another in a meaningful way while enjoying flexible work arrangements. So, how do you do that?
Encourage charity in the workplace
Offering charitable opportunities throughout the year is a great way to improve key indicators of employee happiness and success: engagement, a positive culture and feeling connected. At Motivation Excellence, we plan ours throughout the year in a variety of ways. If you’re looking for the best way to incorporate employee participation in charity at your workplace, here are a few suggestions that we practice ourselves.
Snack for Charity
If your company is new to charity endeavors, you can keep it simple to start. One easy way to do this is to use what’s available to you already.
Every month we pick a new charity based on employee suggestions. The company buys various snacks and drinks, and our employees pay a dollar for each one they take, with the money going to the charity. Giving employees the chance to request a specific charity allows everyone to be part of the process. Often, there is a personal meaning behind a charity, and we get to know more about it because a co-worker chose it.
As an example, Lynn has two children with Type 1 diabetes, and every fall we support JDRF.
“Every year it amazes me the financial and moral support I get from my co-workers. There’s even been a few years when ME matched the donations from Snack for Charity, and that was above and beyond my expectations. It makes my kids feel special that my company supports them in our efforts to cure T1D.”
The holiday season can be hard financially for some in your community. If your community has an Adopt-A-Family program for the holidays, it’s a perfect way to help someone else out while working together as a team.
For Thanksgiving and Christmas each year we adopt families through a nearby township program. Sign-ups are displayed, and employees pick which items they’d like to shop for and donate. No one is required to donate, and everyone gets to choose how much they contribute.
Charity Days Off
What is your volunteering policy? Can you incorporate ways to give back to the community into your workplace? America’s Charities found employees are more likely to participate in workplace philanthropy if the company is willing to provide incentives like paid time off and matching gifts. They also reported that 75% of employees said having a choice of charity is imperative. This opportunity checks both of those boxes.
Each year ME employees get two days off with pay to volunteer. For longtime employee Debbie, it gave her an opportunity to step outside her comfort zone and volunteer for BraveHearts, a charity that uses horses in therapies for children and adults.
“By ME giving us these days, we can learn a lot about ourselves—strengths that we may not have realized we had inside—by helping others. They are letting us experience personal growth along with our professional lives in the company.”
Can your team participate in events for the greater good? Working together as a team on a shared common goal promotes individual wellbeing and contributes to heartfelt company culture.
At least once a year, our company gets together and works on a charity project as a group. Sometimes it’s off-site, like Feed My Starving Children, and sometimes it’s done in our office, like when we made holiday cards for deployed military personnel or fleece tied blankets for sick children with Project Linus. At a recent companywide summer event, we broke into teams and competed in a scavenger hunt to find all the items to fill socks with essentials for homeless people in our community.
George, one of our programmer analysts, says he loves when ME gives us the opportunity to help others: “When we did the blankets for the kids and went to Feed My Starving Children, it was great. We’re all like a family here, and working at a charity is a great way to contribute to something bigger than our immediate organization.”
If you aim to find fun ways to connect employees with one another and the charity you’re helping, it benefits everyone.
Create a company culture of giving all year round
These are just a few examples of how easy it can be to create a company culture of giving. For a successful charitable 2020 in your workplace, get leadership involved. Give your employees a choice and a voice in how your workplace contributes to your community. If you’re interested in getting started finding charities in your area to work with in the new year, consider searching for local charities online, polling your employees, or working with America’s Charities or Community Health Charities to get matched up with one of thousands of nonprofits around the country.