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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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!
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. 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.