How to Incorporate Charity into Your Office Holiday Festivities
Not all office gift exchanges have to include baked goods and bottles of wine. Some gift exchanges can be rooted in charity. If you’re interested in incorporating donations to a good cause within your company holiday events, you can do so in a few unique ways. You may suggest sponsoring a family instead of doing a Secret Santa in your office, or you may choose a donated gift for your contribution to a gift exchange. Your company culture can gain a big morale boost by donating time together, or opting to band together as a company to turn your holiday festivities into helpful donations for others.
Holiday Party & Gift Exchange Alternatives
Many companies take part in a holiday festivities. Secret Santa, holiday parties, and white elephant gift exchanges sweep through the office through the holiday season. It’s the time of year to dive into your company culture and mingle at the company Christmas party, make homemade treats for the company potluck, and find some affordable gifts for a company gift exchange. Businesses tend to focus on togetherness during this time of year to reinforce relationships and company culture. However, there are ways to turn a holiday party or gift exchange into something charitable without compromising culture in the process. Instead of getting everyone together to spend time and money on each other, get everyone together for charity. Or, you can even do both.
- Organize a company volunteer day: Some gifts don’t have to be about a monetary amount, some gifts can be about offering time. This is a great option for companies not wanting to pressure employees into giving cash for a more frugal option for charity. Organize a day to rake leaves, serve soup, visit sick children, or take shelter dogs on a walk.
- Adopt a family as a company: By adopting a family in your community, your whole company will work to feed, clothe, and give a gift to each family member in that family. You’ll change the holidays for one family, and bring the company together in the process.
- Start a food or clothing drive: Encourage your company to go through their closets and cupboards and donate food or clothing for the holidays. There are positives and negatives for asking employees to donate food or cash for a good cause, but this option is great for anonymity as well.
- Company cash donation: You can also create a cash donation for a charity close to your company’s heart and let employees know they are free to donate if they wish. This is a great alternative for a traditional gift exchange as people can take the money meant for a gift and give it to charity instead. When gifting on a budget, this can be a great alternative to giving gifts to multiple people in the office.
Company Culture and Holiday Donations
You don’t have to sacrifice quality time with employees to have a company-wide charity event or donation. Company culture is a valuable part of any business, and charity can be a major part of each company’s culture. If your holiday party is a valuable aspect of your culture, have the party and ask guests to bring a stuffed animal instead of a potluck dish to be donated to your local children’s hospital. That way, you’ll keep your quality time with employees and blend charity into it. Organize a raffle and donate the proceeds. Ask employees about which charity or donation they would prefer or recommend. This way your employees will feel connected to the donation you decide to give as a company.
The truth is that giving back is good for companies. Creating a culture of giving gives each employee a sense of pride in their company and their standing within it. Being a part of the donation decisions gives employees a feeling of team building and togetherness. It allows you to be a part of your community in a positive way and promotes job satisfaction at the same time. For this reason, incorporating charity into your company’s holiday festivities is a great way to help the less fortunate while creating a positive company culture.
How to Incorporate Charity into Office Gift Exchanges
Incorporating charity into the holidays as a company is a lot different than incorporating charity into the holidays as an employee. Organizing clothing drives, donations, and volunteer days is a job for management. If you’d like to incorporate charity into your office gift exchange, that can be tricky on it’s own. However, it can be done. If you’re considering a donation to a charity within a gift exchange situation, make sure to pair the donation with something tangible. Especially in a gift exchange situation where you have the ability to trade or steal gifts, you don’t want to make others feel bad for not keeping yours. If it’s a donation to the humane society, pair it with a stuffed dog or a personalized note.
When incorporating a charitable donation into a gift for someone else, you want to be careful to avoid some gifting faux pas. Always do your research on a charity before donating, try to donate to a cause the person you’re gifting to will care about, and avoid causes that are self-serving or controversial. It seems impersonal and troublesome when a person gives you a card noting that a donation was made in your name to a church they aren’t affiliated with or a politician they don’t align with. Your charitable donation was made with the best intentions, so don’t lose that message by making the person you’re gifting to feel uncomfortable.
The holidays are a time for giving and charity, and there’s no reason why you can’t find a way to incorporate that into your work life as well as your personal life. By banding together as a company and donating, volunteering, or fundraising, you can turn your holiday events into one that promotes helping people in your community. Not only that, but it also promotes giving within company culture which can give employees a boost in morale and a feeling of pride. So whether you’re donating old clothes to a clothing drive, donating money to support a family, or giving a donation as a gift in your company gift exchange, you can incorporate charity within your company holiday festivities.
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Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys talk radio, cold coffee, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow Chelsy on Twitter @Chelsy5
This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published November 1, 2017.