With the U.S. economy in its current state, it may be harder than ever for people to afford to pay their own bills, let alone try to donate to charitable organizations. However, it is always important to donate what you can, when you can.
You don’t have to donate or raise much money to make a difference. Workplaces have a unique opportunity for donating in that employees can organize an effort together rather than just donating individually (or not at all). Below, I have listed three unique opportunities for charitable acts that have been adopted at my workplaces. Each one has been successful and valuable.
Get Your Office to Donate to Charity: Host an Athletic Event. Whether people in your office like to play cornhole, dodgeball, or like to go bowling, it can be fun and charitable to get a group of co-workers together in the competitive spirit. Set up a small entry fee for each team or participant. You can set up the game play for a lunch break every Wednesday, for example. I do recommend setting up the event during lunch or other breaks rather than waiting until the evening or weekend. With this kind of activity, you’ll see a lot of people leery to sign up and/or a lot of people that back out at the last minute if they are expected to take time out from their evenings and weekends.
If you want to put a larger scale event together, set up a small concession stand and make a day of it. Of course, adding an extra incentive to win is always a good idea. Offer a free lunch, extra vacation day, or even a free mentoring session.
Get Your Office to Donate to Charity: Set up “Jeans Days.” One company I worked for established this event as a way to donate to a local charity. I thought it was brilliant. All employees were sent an email and there were flyers announcing that we could wear jeans/casual wear throughout the designated week if we donated money to the charity they had chosen. We could pay $1.00 per day or $5.00 for the week; in turn, we wore stickers that designated us as being “allowed” to wear casual clothing. I honestly saw very few people in anything but jeans that week, so I know they must have raised a decent amount of money.
Of course, if you allow your employees to wear something other than what they’re normally allowed to wear, make sure you post a list of guidelines and expectations. For example, just because the email says “casual wear,” it does not mean you want to see employees walking around in their pajamas. For guidance on what not to wear, take a look at an article I wrote awhile back: 5 Things You Should Never Wear to Work.
Get Your Office to Donate to Charity: Clothing/Toy/Houseware Bins. Many of us like to donate clothing items and housewares to Goodwill and other worthy organizations. However, we also get so busy we forget to make the trip to drop off the items. If we don’t drop off the items, we can’t really help anyone.
One easy way to overcome this problem is to set up a clothing/toy/houseware bin at the office. Instruct employees to bring in clean clothes, toys, and other items to be donated to the location of your choice. At the end of the month (or as often as you need to), send a designated employee to drop off all items for the whole group. This process encourages employees to donate their items; knowing that they don’t have to make special trips themselves will make the process easier and more enticing. Send out an email to all employees informing them of when the donations have been dropped off to keep their interest in the project going.
Even in difficult times, it is important to help others who are not as fortunate. If you work in an office environment where people are willing to make an effort, try any or all of these ideas to get your office to donate to charity.