Christmas Charity and Donations

As the holidays are approaching many small and large firms are setting up some Christmas charity programs. Is it irrelevant, what kind of charity cause they choose? Is it just something nice to have? Actually, a randomly chosen charity program or donation can be even counterproductive for employee motivation or the corporate image. So, we have identified 4 key considerations to be credible and even business-building in the long term.

Consideration #1 – Mission/Purpose Alignment

The first key element is staying true to the corporate mission / purpose. If you want employees to feel like the initiative is their own, its aim must be aligned with the purpose / mission statement of the company. For example, a large oil firm donating a small amount to an ocean cleaning organization seems rather questionable and out of touch, and people may perceive it as “greenwashing”. Making a difference is always a great feeling, but a genuine passion for charity will make holiday giving more satisfying.

Consideration #2 – Long-lasting

The second element is thinking long-term. Recently we’ve seen a positive trend of switching from short-term donations to long-term partnerships and commitments with NGOs or other organizations to make a real impact. Taking the same example, if the large oil firm supports regularly an ocean cleaning organization and creates an actual impact, the mission and value of the company can align with this initiative. The keywords here are consciousness and consistency. This overarching purpose is especially important for younger employees, millennials, and generation Z.

Consideration #3 – Employee involvement

The third element is being open to proactive employee initiatives. In many cases, employees have ideas of charity programs or donations or have a cause in mind to support. Sometimes they come up with genuinely new ideas on how to support existing partners. This integral organic force can have a great effect on the implementation of the program as the employees have intrinsic motivation. 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.

Consideration #4 – Communication

When deciding on the strategy of holiday charity, keep in mind how you are going to communicate your initiatives. Is there a social media campaign, is it promoted on products, or maybe is it just internally focused? All of these can be legitimate if done in line with and as an integral part of other corporate communication efforts. One-time campaigns in communication make as little sense as one-time charity projects.

Other ways to make an impact

There are other, less traditional ways of making an impact, too.

Consider donating your and your employees’ time. This means, letting your employees do volunteer work during working hours is also a way of corporate commitment behind a cause. As a side effect, it also boosts morale and builds community, as having your team do volunteering together can build your team while making an impact. Additionally, your employees learn new skills, gain connections, and feel more empowered at work.

Another option is to make a donation on behalf of your customers. For example, every purchase contributes to a cause. This builds loyalty toward your service or product and can build credibility if done in a genuine way.

How can you choose the right cause for your company? We know the answer.