According to a report from Giving USA, charitable giving grew by about 3.5 percent last year, totaling $316.23 billion. Much of the giving takes place during the holidays and businesses often lead the way.
There are more ways to spread holiday cheer to the less fortunate than simply donating money, however. One way is to harness your employees’ natural desire to help others.
BBB has the following tips for businesses looking to help employees share their time, talent and treasure:
Match donations. One way to encourage cheerful giving is to match a portion of your employees' local charity donations.
Ask for employees’ charity recommendations. Invite your employees to select a charity as a group and promote their cause throughout the holiday season. Not only will this help the charity of your choosing, but your business may benefit from the brand awareness created by aligning yourself with a worthy organization.
Do some research. Learn how the organization uses the donations it receives by reviewing its BBB Charity Report online at www.give.org. Avoid giving to the wrong charity. Check the name of the organization closely to ensure you are giving to the right one, rather than a similarly-named organization that might not be legitimate.
Offer time off for volunteering. Consider giving employees paid time off for volunteering for charities. BBB gives employees 16 hours of paid leave for charity volunteer work. Employees have a year to utilize those hours for any charity they want to support. Call the charity directly and ask them if there are opportunities available and make it a company event. Consider wearing matching clothes with company logo to identify your business while you volunteer to market your brand.
Pick a cause you believe in. One great way to get motivated is to find an organization that appeals to the same demographic as your business. For example, if you sell clothing, consider aligning yourself with a children’s or women’s shelter where your donation directly impacts the individuals there.
Hold a food drive. BBB encouraged staff to donate to a local food bank last year by holding a team contest on who could collect the most food items. The prize was minimal, but in the end, the contest netted 1,425 pounds of food for families in need.
Partner with a charity. Supporting a fundraising event such as a toy or food drive can be a source of good public relations. Businesses can donate time, floor space or promote volunteering among the staff.