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 offers the following suggestions 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 local and national organizations use the donations they receive by reviewing online BBB Charity Reports. 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. 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. Encourage staff to donate to a local food bank by holding a team contest to see who can collect the most food items. The value of the prize is not the driving factor, so don't worry about spending big bucks. Aside from bragging rights, the greatest reward is that they'll be collecting 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. Be sure to research the charity with the IRS (exempt organization select check) and the Maryland Charities Database with the Office of the Secretary of State.