The act of volunteering your time to help others is a growing, enriching and educational experience that has many benefits to those who partake. While offering your time to help others has a variety of personal benefits, when done as a company it can also be good for constructing a workplace culture. It leads to better employee engagement and stronger relationships with the community – the PR that results from volunteering can indirectly help business, as well. Of course, the good karma that comes from giving back never hurts, either.
Volunteering is valuable all year round, however it is especially important during the holidays when the winter weather is harsh and those in need can’t embrace the spirit of the season. The following company holiday volunteering opportunities can get the group into the spirit of the season and improve culture in the workplace!
1. Serving food to the needy
We spend time with loved ones during the holidays, and one of the highlights of these celebrations is the feasts we consume. The homeless don’t have this opportunity to dine in a warm home surrounded by family, but this is where your company can step in! Having your team go to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen to prepare/provide food to those in need helps nourish them and allows your team to work together.
2. Compete in a team-based walk or runThere are a variety of fundraising races during the holiday season. Enter one of these races as a team and you’ll not only be raising money for a good cause, but you will be competing together as a group. To take it even further, create custom shirts for your team that show off your company name and possibly include a quippy slogan; it establishes the team as a unit, gives the company personality and serves as free advertising. You can even hold training sessions (for runs, bike rides or more intensive races) beforehand to promote team bonding.
3. Visit the ill or elderly
Being in nursing homes, hospitals or hospices can be lonely and gloomy, especially during the holiday season. Having your team visit people who can’t be home for the holidays can bring some light to their days. You can sing holiday carols, read stories or even just split up and talk with people. Just be sure to meet up as a group afterward to share your experiences and collectively bask in the good feeling of brightening others’ days. You can have some fun by dressing up as a holiday character and hand out candy – this is especially fun for the children!
4. Hold a food, clothing or toy driveEncourage employees to contribute food items, unwanted clothes, toys or more; the company can send a collective donation to a charity and give those in need a chance for a better holiday experience. Most of us always talk about donating our unwanted items, but giving your team a channel to do so will inspire a better chance of follow-through. If you’re a storefront, you can even advertise – via newspaper, social media, email, radio, etc. – that you’re taking donations so you’ll get added traction from the media and a better endowment for your chosen charity. If you’re simply raising money, you can even offer to match donations to incentivize more offerings and demonstrate the company’s charitably.
These are just a few of the common volunteering options you can do as a company, but there are almost endless ways you can donate your time for the greater good and improve the culture of your workplace. However, there are some important things to consider before you make your decision:
Don’t force your employees to participate. By doing so, you could be creating a negative influence on the workplace culture.
Be sensitive to employees’ beliefs. You don’t want a volunteering experience heavily focused on only Christmas when you have groups of workers who celebrate other holidays. Sometimes it’s best to keep it broad.
Make sure you’re giving your time when it won’t be affecting business. Many clients/customers will appreciate your good will, however if your time cuts into important deadlines or store hours, it could actually negatively impact business.
Consider the size of your business – if you’re a small business, you may want to work with a local cause to help drive awareness. For larger companies, you may consider working with a national charity or foundation.
Don’t be shy. Always make sure you are exhibiting your activities with the public via social media, PR or however you share company news. It will display how caring your company is and solidify a workplace culture internally, and to the outside world, as well.
Share some ways your company gives back to the community in the comments below!