The holiday season is typically viewed as a time of selflessness and generosity, and these tenets are perhaps best represented by seasonal philanthropic metrics. On average, charitable donations are twice as high in December alone. This finding, while undeniably significant and uplifting, is bittersweet; it represents an inherent desire to help others during a critical time of year, but, in many cases, this enthusiasm dwindles by January, falling dormant until it is again rekindled the following December.
When it comes to corporate philanthropy, this tendency must be eliminated despite a variety of potential obligations and distractions (such as new year goals and monthly KPIs). Instead, charitable giving should be integrated as a positive habit and a consistent staple of company culture.
With the 2020 holiday season in full swing, here are a few tips for promoting year-round corporate philanthropic involvement in 2021.
Develop a vision
Like any new corporate venture, your company’s philanthropic cause should begin with a general plan or goal. A great way to begin this dialogue is to open a clear line of communication with your team, asking them what causes they are passionate about or would be comfortable supporting throughout the year. Once a direction is agreed upon, establish how this involvement will relate to standard work week protocol. For example, you may decide to offer volunteer time off, which is also a great way to support employees by changing up their usual weekly schedule.
Broaden your horizons
There is no rule saying your company can only settle for one charitable project; consider branching out and helping multiple causes. Maybe start by supporting a single nonprofit and, once you have established balance, broaden your gaze to include smaller organizations in the community. Often, these lesser entities have more difficulty raising funds, and by diversifying your philanthropic web, you will reinforce a culture of inclusion and forge great new working relationships along the way.
While charitable involvement feels good by nature, there are many ways to make it fun at an internal corporate level. Take a creative approach to framing your new philanthropic direction; perhaps make it into a friendly competition, dividing your workers into teams and stacking up their respective raised funds. If your cause is more community involvement-based, make your contributions into bonding experiences in addition to giving opportunities — hold a team lunch after a community clean-up or restoration project, for instance. This approach will keep your team motivated and enthusiastic, which, in turn, should promote a continuous philanthropic mindset transcending a single time of year.