Management December 10, 2015 Last updated December 8th, 2015 2,091 Reads share

Volunteering At the Office: Making It More Than Moneymongering

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The holidays are a magical time. Even corporate and small business life does not escape the holiday season’s cheerful grasp. Overused Christmas songs blast through speakers, decorations are tastefully (or not so tastefully) incorporated into the office design, holiday centered PR campaigns are kicked off, and a holiday party is eagerly planned. One other aspect of the season is incorporated into the office: the season of giving.

Charitable giving and events can have a positive effect on your workforce. Charitable action has the ability to enhance an

The Problem with Charitable Giving

The appeal to give to charity is an oversaturated request in America (especially around the holiday season). Every retail has a different charity they are backing. One asks for money, another requests individuals buy their winter hats for the needy, another asks that you donate money for scientific research.

As much as you might be excited about the prospect of what a food or toy drive can do for your employees and your company, chances are your employees (some of who aren’t rich) have already given money to charity this year or even this month.

Constantly asking for more money seriously flirts with attaching the tagline “Christmas means giving until it hurts” to your festivities. (David Sedaris has a humorous story that focuses on the topic called Christmas Means Giving. I highly recommend it.) At the end of the day, you shouldn’t pressure employees (even having a drive exerts some form of social pressure) to give more. Well you can, but you’ll get the more cynical employees thinking why are they asking me for money again!

Does this mean you shouldn’t bring the spirit of giving into your office? No, but it does mean that companies should take a hard look at the demographic of their workforce and create drives or events that don’t unduly tax your employees.

Ideas for Drives That Don’t Tax Employees

With the bid for money off the table, there are still ways to encourage giving in the office. Here are a variety of ideas to create charitable drives in the office that don’t involve your employees (once again) emptying their pocketbooks once again to do so.

Donate Used Toys

Toy drives are a staple of the holiday season. My own place of employment has done a toy drive the last two years. Instead of requesting that employees give new toys, companies can find local, regional, or national charities that collect gently used toys for families in need. This drive won’t work for all offices, so you might want to get a sense of how many employees have some older toys laying around that they can donate.

Here are a few organizations that collect used toys:

  • Second Chance Toys collects gently used plastic toys. They’re based on the east coast. Companies based in the seven states they’re located in can arrange a drop off location if they manage to collect at least fifty toys.
  • Toys For Tots accepts donations of gently used toys as well.
  • Donation Town accepts used toys. Companies can arrange for the organization to pick up the donations.
  • You can also ask your employees if they know any families in need that could use some donated toys for the holidays.

Donate Used Books

Books are a great holiday gift. And unlike toys, chances are most individuals in the office will have at least one gently used book that would be appropriate for a child, pre-teen, or teen. Here are a few organizations that accept book donations:

  • Companies can contact local libraries or schools to determine if the libraries are currently accepting donations. Incorporating the books into the library collection will allow a larger number of children to have access to the books all year round.
  • Reader to Reader accepts gently used books for children and teens.
  • Better World Books accepts donations. The money from selling the books goes to United for Libraries.

Blood Drives

Local hospitals are always in need of donated blood. Rather than ask employees to once again donate items or money, the company could hold a blood drive. You can contact American Red Cross to host the blood drive at the office.

Donate Used or New Clothes

Everyone has gently used or forgotten clothes that take up way too much space in their closet. Hosting a clothes drive at work could be an easy and painless way to encourage your employees to donate. Here are a few organizations you can send your donations to:

  • The Idaho Youth Ranch accepts donated clothes. The company can either drop it off or they can arrange for the organization to pick up the donations.
  • The Salvation Army is another good choice.
  • You might also want to contact smaller, local charities to arrange a drop-off.

The holidays are a time where we’re reminded that we should be charitable. Many companies desire to arrange drives to encourage employees to give back to the community. Before you go full speed ahead on a food, money, or toy drive, you might want to consider some alternate ways to give. In a world oversaturated by companies requesting monetary donations, more employees might be able to give more if the donation requests don’t require them to empty their pocket books, wallets, and bank accounts.

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Samantha Stauf

Samantha Stauf

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