The holiday season has arrived once again! Not only does this bring the gatherings of family and friends to celebrate, but it also arrives with an increased spirit of giving. At Polaris Direct, charitable giving has been a long-standing tradition. Since our inception over 14 years ago, we have participated in a long list of giving—from monetary donations to volunteering time and materials.
Giving not only leaves an impact on those you’ve helped, but it also creates a more positive image of you and your company. Studies have shown that people are naturally drawn to businesses that are ethically responsible, tied to a good cause, or demonstrate passion towards societal improvement. As an added bonus, it also helps build positive morale within your own company.
So, in honor of #GivingTuesday, we’d like to share some tips on corporate giving so you can make a difference this holiday season.
1. Choose a Charity You Are Passionate About
As an organization, you should choose a charity that aligns with your core values and is near-and-dear to your heart. Making a difference is always a great feeling, but a genuine passion in charity will make holiday giving even more satisfying.
For instance, supporting our troops has always been important to us here at Polaris Direct. In the past, we have participated in an American Red Cross program called “Holiday Mail for Heroes” where employees sign holiday cards with messages of love and support. The cards were then distributed to service men and women deployed all over the world.
2. Invite Employee Participation
As we mentioned, there is a direct link between staff satisfaction and corporate philanthropy. Not only are employees far more likely to respect leaders that believe in corporate philanthropy over those who do not, working together also builds positive morale and allows inter-departmental team building that may not normally occur. In fact, one study found over 90% of companies that participated in corporate philanthropy listed a positive increase in employee engagement among the top three benefits of their employee volunteer programs.
Check within the community and “adopt” a family in need for Christmas. Local charities can often connect you so that you can supply the family with everything needed for the holidays—from food for a holiday feast to gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. Not only does this provide direct support to a family within your local community, employees are also left with the amazing feeling of having worked together to bring joy, however temporary, to one deserving family.
There are many other ways you can encourage employee participation in charitable giving and build employee morale—volunteering competitions or company matching gift donations—be creative!
3. Consider Donating Your Time
Many companies are beginning to adopt a policy where they allow their employees to use hours of their time at work volunteering. Allowing corporate volunteer time is known to improve employee team building, easier recruitment of younger employees, and generate corporate visibility. Additionally, your employees learn new skills, gain connections, and feel more empowered at work.
Companies that have corporate volunteer programs see the value and use them to attract prospective employees. According to research conducted at Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship, nearly 60% of companies include information about their volunteer programs during recruitment.
4. Instead of Sending Gifts to Customers, Donate on Their Behalf
We all like to show our customers how much we appreciate them every year—but for a lot of companies, there is a limit on the value of a gift an employee can accept. These corporate compliance policies can prove to be a bit of a conundrum when it comes to holiday giving. Why not donate on their behalf instead?
Polaris Direct, for example, sets up a private donation page every year with a list of reputable charities that our clients can pick from and we donate on their behalf!
5. Do Your Research
We would all like to believe that every charity is legitimate and follows through with their promises. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and it’s important to know where your donation dollars end up and if it will make the kind of impact you desire.
If you do decide to give money or goods, be sure to do your due diligence before you become a donor. Charity watchdogs like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch help you look into a charity’s financial statements or functional expenses, and report on how well the charity spends your donations.
Make Giving a Tradition in Your Workplace
Lastly, giving doesn’t need to just begin and end with the holiday season—you can carry the spirit of giving throughout the year. Beginning the tradition of giving will not only benefit the charities you’re passionate about, but increase positive corporate visibility and employee morale. It’s win-win for everyone!
About the author: Emily Masse is an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Business with a focus in Marketing. She writes for the UNH chapter of HerCampus.com, the #1 new-media global community for college women. Emily is also a Strategic Marketing Services intern for Polaris Direct, a nationally acclaimed high-volume direct marketing services company in Hooksett, NH.