Wander any street fair or craft show and chances are you’ll pass by a stall featuring signs that read “BElieve THEre is GOOD in the world.” That message is a nice reminder that if you want to see good in the world, you have to make it happen.
Organizations have long recognized the power of charity for engaging employees. In fact, the latest survey by America’s Charities reports that more than 70% of employees consider it very important to work for a company that supports a culture of charitable giving.
Traditionally this support has come in the shape of corporate donations, matching employee donation programs or employee donations through payroll deductions. But it’s no longer enough to rely on passive programs like these to attract and retain employees.
According to America’s Charities, 68 percent of employees said they want their companies to support volunteer efforts. And many cited the opportunity to interact with senior leaders (57 percent) and other colleagues (41 percent) as important motivators for participating in charity events.
Clearly, to engage employees today, the power of a hands-on experience is key. Here are three ways you can create meaningful charitable-giving experiences for your employees:
Make it personal
Nothing is more powerful than seeing the impact of your efforts on your community. Look for opportunities to bring employees face-to-face with the recipients of their generosity.
At Davis & Company, we helped prepare and serve meals to approximately 400 individuals at a local community kitchen. The chance to interact with those we were helping made a lasting impact and the shared experience brought us closer together as colleagues.
Make it competitive
Everyone loves a little friendly competition, even when volunteering. To add some competitive zest to your next volunteer event, shake things up by breaking participants into teams with other employees at different levels and in different functions.
When we held a volunteer event for a local food pantry, we had a competition to see which of our two teams could fill the most snack packs in an hour. That competitive drive created a great sense of camaraderie that made the task of assembling 500 snack packs more like a game than a chore.
Make it festive
The holidays are an especially good time to give back. Whether filling a basket with Thanksgiving dinner fixings or answering children’s letters to Santa, employees can find special meaning in the experience of helping others.
One of my favorite traditions at Davis & Company is our holiday Giving Tree. We work with a local charity to identify a family in need, then write the family members’ holiday wishes on paper ornaments. Employees who want to participate choose one or two ornaments from our Giving Tree and shop for those gifts. Once all the presents have been purchased, everyone pitches in for an impromptu gift-wrapping party.
Give your employees a reason to feel good about the company they work for. Incorporate charitable-giving experiences into your employee communication plan—it’s not only good for your company, it’s good for the world.