The holiday season is quickly approaching, and now is a better time than ever to start getting involved in volunteer initiatives to help those who are less fortunate. By starting a volunteer initiative as a team, your business can not only enjoy the wonderful feelings that come along with helping out those in need, but your business may even enjoy a nice PR and reputation boost as a result.

So, what are some ways your team can go about volunteering this holiday season? The possibilities are endless, but you can find four ideas that are feasible for just about any-sized business below.

  1. Set Up a Donation Jar

You’ve probably seen donation jars at the cash registers in convenience stores, retail stores, and everywhere in between—and perhaps you’ve even donated to them in the past. Donation jars are an excellent way to gather some spare change from your already loyal customers, especially if your business operates with a typical storefront and cash registers.

In order to get people to donate to your jar, however, you’ll need to be very specific about where the funds will be going. Rather than labeling the jar “for charity,” sit down with your team ahead of time and determine which charity you will donate the funds to at the end of the donation drive. Make this clear on your donation jars and provide those who donate with some informational brochures or other literature about the charity itself. Twitter bird icon

Furthermore, be sure to train your register staff to courteously ask customers if they’d like to make a donation to the jar; the best time to ask is when they already have their wallet open.

  1. Plan a Volunteer Excursion

Another great way to get your team involved in giving back this holiday season is to plan a volunteer trip during your regular business hours. Yes, this may require you to take a minor loss in profits for the day, but what you lose in profits will likely be made up in increased business and a better reputation within the community after the fact.

Plus, when you hold your volunteer excursions during your regular business hours, you’re more likely to get involvement from a larger number of your employees. Twitter bird icon Of course, you can’t require your employees to participate, but you’ll probably find that many of them are happy to do so.

There are a number of volunteer excursions you can plan with your team, but it’s best to sit down with your employees in a meeting and present them with a list of options. From there, everybody can vote on the option they like best. A few possible ideas for volunteer excursions around the holidays include:

  • serving meals at a homeless shelter
  • visiting seniors at a local nursing home
  • delivering meals (for an organization like Meals on Wheels)

The great thing about actually going out with your team and making a difference by actively volunteering is that you also have the opportunity to enjoy some excellent PR coverage. You may even consider publishing a press release or company blog post with photos to recap your involvement with the volunteer excursion.

  1. Hold a Workplace Toy Drive

Want to make things a little more fun? Consider incorporating a healthy amount of competition into the workplace volunteering this holiday season by holding a workplace toy drive that rewards the individual or department that is able to bring in the most donations. Twitter bird icon You can even offer a small incentive (aside from feeling good about donating) to the winner, such as a gift card or even a paid vacation day, depending on what you can get authorization to do from Human Resources.

Furthermore, depending on the size of your company, you can create teams for the toy drive based on department—or you can allow individuals to keep track of their donations. Either way, when all is said and done, you can send your donations over to an organization like Toys for Tots, which strives to ensure that every child gets to open a toy each holiday season.

When organizing a workplace toy drive, be sure to announce the start and end dates in a workplace e-mail or memo. Then, keep things exciting by posting regular updates of how many toys each team has collected (you might even keep a chart posted in the break room). You just might be surprised by how competitive some of your team members get and how much of a difference your business is able to make this holiday season as a result!

  1. Provide Your Services/Goods to the Needy

Finally, there is always the option of setting aside a day or event to provide your business’ services to those in need at a free or reduced price. Of course, this will depend on the specific services or goods your company has to offer. Twitter bird icon For example, if you run a dentistry clinic, you might consider offering a day of free dental work to those in need. Yes, this might sound like a pricey endeavor, but there’s a good chance that the amount of positive publicity your business enjoys as a result will offset any financial loss.

These are just a few possible ideas for getting your team involved in volunteer initiatives this holiday season. Now, which ones will you try out at your workplace? Consider holding a meeting with your employees to discuss your options and figure out which volunteer initiatives are most feasible for your business.

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15 Comments

  • Caz*, November 2, 2015 @ 8:17 pm

    I think toy drives and food drives are the best for a company to get together on! I love doing Angel Trees and toy drives. The last time I did a really awesome one in Utah was for the Christmas Box house. They have a list of needed items on their website every year. Shopping for those kids was a real treat!

  • Maria Williams, November 8, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

    I think a toy drive can be great for this holiday season ! there are ton’s of kids that would the perfect Christmas gift. Thanks for the great blog Danielle.

  • Matt Christensen, November 9, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

    Yeah, it doesn’t get any better than shopping for kids and being able to deliver all of the goodies to the parents knowing that the kids get to see the parents give them the gifts the next day. We always try to find the charity with the tree so you can pick ornaments off of it and by for the kid.

  • Josh Virchow, November 13, 2015 @ 10:19 am

    My and my family always do a sub 4 Santa every year. I agree with Matt Christensen, I think that the charity tree is a great idea!

  • Tonya Davis, November 13, 2015 @ 11:57 am

    When companies do fund raisers and charity events, it’s always much more productive then people just donating on their own. Generally the company can get another company to go in on it and match the donations. I know all of the companies I’ve worked for in the past and present, whenever they’ve held some type of charity event, they’ve always brought in the big bucks for the charity. It’s awesome to see how much people give during the holidays.

  • Michael Lewis, November 13, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

    These are great Ideas, I love this time of year for this specific reason. Reach out, Give, Help, Be Grateful, Show Love. These are activities and ideas that truly feed the soul.

  • Andrew Williams, November 20, 2015 @ 8:08 am

    If a business in the position to donate their services or products to the need then I think they should. It’s also a great idea to do a toy or clothing drive. My favorite ski resort Brighton always does these drives in December where you can bring in food, clothing, or toys and get a lift ticket for $20. That makes me like them even more.

  • Caz*, November 22, 2015 @ 9:28 pm

    I like how you commented this here and shared it to G+ as well.

  • Caz*, November 22, 2015 @ 9:28 pm

    I think it is one of the best ways to really FEEL the season! I enjoy giving to charities and volunteering more than I enjoy shopping for my own friends and family. Haha.

  • Caz*, November 22, 2015 @ 9:30 pm

    I think you’re so right. Many years ago a company I worked for donated to the Christmas Box there in Utah. They didn’t do an awesome job of really helping anyone understand what it is they could do or what they were doing it for, but I remembered the name. So just a couple years ago, rather than giving big gifts to all my friends and family, I ONLY gave to the Christmas Box and chose to make a homemade board game for my family instead of spending money there. All I want for my family is to spend that kind of valuable time together anyway.

  • Caz*, November 22, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

    That’s definitely something I’m trying to do this year! I know a family that really, really could use the help. Sometimes it is hard to determine how, however. There are so many services that find these families for you and provide the information, making it easy. I love sub for Santas and Angel trees!

  • Caz*, November 22, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

    There’s just something about buying a small bike for a kid that has nothing versus buying a bike for a kid that has already has their own cell phone. haha.

  • Caz*, November 22, 2015 @ 9:32 pm

    I kind of feel like it is the best excuse to go shopping at Toy stores as an adult 🙂 You have a family, so you get to go anyway. I don’t yet have kids so I’m always adopting my nieces and nephews just for a chance to go to a Toy store or a Pet store.

  • Andrew Williams, November 23, 2015 @ 10:26 am

    Ya I’m spreading the good word for helping the needy and for discount lift tickets (everybody wins)

  • TJ Mitchell, December 17, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

    It’s great that every holiday season so many businesses put such a focus on charity donations. Unfortunately though many of these organizations need this type of attention and support year round. Mixing in a spring or summer fund raiser is a great idea as well!

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