As we hurtle toward the year-end, it is easy to become preoccupied by balance sheets, profits and losses, and budget approvals for next year. As business owners and marketers, we often get consumed by our own enterprise goals and forget that there are others out there who are struggling with issues greater than our own. Incorporating charity into your business is an excellent way to revive a flagging staff spirit and inject some perspective into your daily work life.
Here are five ways to incorporate charity into your business. Not all of them require money, but they all provide the satisfaction and joy that comes from making a difference for others.
Give time off to employees who volunteer.
Once a week, allow employees to come in a little later, leave a little earlier, or take an extended lunch break so they can volunteer their time to a worthy cause. Compensate them as if they were at work during that period. The extra hour or so per week that employees spend in service outside of the office can boost productivity by providing something new and stimulating to think about and by breaking up the weekly work schedule. Encourage your staff to share their experiences with their co-workers, either through organized meetings or in informal settings like the lunchroom at the water cooler.
Participate in a charity event as a business.
Teambuilding exercises can be helpful for your staff and can have an even greater impact when employees are spending time together for a good cause. Marathons, walk-a-thons, bicycle rides, and color runs are a fun way to rally your employees and unite them in the spirit of helping others.
Hire someone in need.
Many people find themselves in difficult circumstances because of a job loss in the family. Consult with employment groups that work with returning veterans, battered women, or individuals trying to break out of homelessness to find enthusiastic employees who need a hand up. Hire new employees to support departments with high workloads like accounting, marketing, or data entry.
Donate your business services.
Whatever you call “business as usual” just might be the thing a charitable organization or needy person seeks. Even B2B services can be extraordinarily helpful for struggling non-profit groups looking for basic legal services, accounting, marketing, web design, or transportation. Ask around for someone who might benefit from your offerings. If you have a hard time finding takers, post an ad on the Internet or place fliers that advertise your donation in areas that might be frequented by someone who could benefit from your services.
Give a monetary donation to a worthy cause instead of distributing client holiday gifts.
Many businesses are restricting the ability of their staff to receive gifts from vendors, for tax and ethical reasons. Do some good in the world and remind your clients of your stand-up organization by making a cash donation to a charity of your choice. Mail holiday cards to your clients that contain an insert with information about the charity so they can learn more regarding the cause about which you’re passionate, and can also contribute personally if they feel moved. Pick charities that are unaffiliated with political or other hot-button groups to ensure that you are not inadvertently offending your clients’ sensibilities while trying to do a good deed.
Remember, these charitable tendencies need not be isolated to just the holiday season. Incorporating charity into your business year-round can inject a newfound upbeat spirit into your workplace and can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.