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Starting a Revolution in Your Workplace

December 5th, 2012. Filed under Revolution! Solutions,Social Good

PG&E employees volunteering at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. (cc) Alameda County Community Food Bank

The cubicle farm where you work might not seem like the ideal place to make a difference in your community (unless you’re working for a nonprofit with that goal!), but you might be surprised by the wide variety of ways that businesses can encourage and promote charitable actions. Sometimes they just need someone like you to give them a little nudge in the right direction by offering suggestions. Things like…

Donation matching. Some companies encourage their workforce to give back to the community and donate to charitable organizations by offering to match whatever they give – up to a certain point. When people realize that their dollars are going to be doubled, they are far more likely to give.

Another kind of donation matching you can try to get your company involved in as well is fundraising. For example, when organizations like NPR have their fundraising drives, they often announce that donations for a specific hour will be matched by a specific donor or company. This way, your company is not only able to give back, but also build brand recognition.

Organizing community events. Maybe your company is looking for a way to foster goodwill in the community. One great way to do this is to organize events that benefit the neighborhood. If your employer pays for the event, they can be listed as sponsors. However, even if they just handle the logistics of organizing it, they’re still taking a step in the right direction and helping out where the event may be lacking in volunteers.

Encouraging volunteering. For many people, taking time off of work to volunteer just isn’t possible because they can’t afford to miss that paycheck. That’s why you should suggest that your company allow sick and vacation days to be used when employees want to volunteer at events.

Even better, they could build special paid “volunteering” days into everyone’s annual schedule.  Many companies have signature charitable events that they become involved with, even putting up sign-up sheets and organizing travel to and from the event – oh, and usually employees are paid for this day of “work,” too!

Allowing employee drives. Remember when schools would have canned food drives and similar events, encouraging students to bring in items from home to donate to less fortunate people? We tend to move away from this as adults because we don’t have that same sense of community reminding us to do our part. We can create that environment in our workplaces allowing drives around the office. Something as small as setting up a donation barrel that everyone can see will help bring attention to the drive.

Donating their products or services. Another great way to earn goodwill in a community and do something positive is for your company to donate some of their products or services to a charitable organization. You can even volunteer to be the one performing the services or dropping off the products. Most non-profits are on strict budgets and need donations from other businesses to help them achieve their goals.

Often, all it takes is the initiative of a single employee to start programs like this – and the involvement of just one business can make a big impact on the community. There are many reasons to get your company involved and spread the goodwill around your community.  What will you organize this year?

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