If you missed organizing a Make A Difference Day activity in your workplace this year, no worries! Now’s a great time to look ahead to #GivingTuesday. Similar to Make A Difference Day, it celebrates gratitude, giving and volunteerism.
After Thanksgiving, we have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday — and #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, Nov 29.
#GivingTuesday is a “global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration,” according to GivingTuesday.org. It “kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.”
United Way calls these Days of Caring. Besides Make a Difference Day and #GivingTuesday, the organization also includes Martin Luther King Day, Read Across America Day, National Volunteer Week, Day of Action, and 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.
#GivingTuesday and other Days of Caring are a fantastic opportunity to engage employees with volunteerism and giving back. You can organize activities inter-departmentally or with the community in your neighborhood, city or state, or even orchestrate a nationwide effort with employees across distributed company locations.
Days of Caring are quickly becoming key workplace celebrations. Read on to find out why, and for planning inspiration.
Workplace Volunteerism Attracts (and Keeps) Employees
Millennials in particular are demanding corporate social responsibility, according to an NPR commentary by Paul Argenti, Dartmouth professor of corporate communication. A recent Nielsen survey shows the younger generation is “significantly more responsive” to corporate social responsibility “in both consumption as well as employment decisions.”
A triple bottom line is emerging: people, planet and profit.
“Millennials are choosing to spend their resources — be it time or money — on organizations that appear to represent a set of values,” Argenti writes.
One company incorporating volunteerism and giving back into its business strategy is TCC, the Verizon wireless retailer. CEO Scott Moorehead explains that the “commoditization of wireless retail stores meant we needed to do more to differentiate ourselves in order to grow a loyal customer and employee base.”
So TCC started “Culture of Good,” a program aimed at engaging its employees, 85 percent of whom are Millennials. Employees are allowed 16 hours of paid time-off annually to devote to volunteer efforts. In 2015, the company donated $1.2 million to employee-led charity efforts.
“Such a policy fits well with two of the major requests from Millennials: empowerment and the ability to affect local communities,” Argenti writes.
It’s also good for business. As a result of “Culture of Good,” TCC reported higher employee retention and satisfaction, as well as an increase in customers.
“Although each generation bemoans the faults of the following ones, perhaps it’s time we give Millennials credit where credit is due: They are forcing business to do good while doing well. Companies need to rise to this challenge quickly or risk becoming an anachronism,” Argenti writes.
5 Ideas for Workplace Giving Inspiration
Be inspired by what companies around the country are doing! It’s the best way to start brainstorming your own ideas for Make A Difference Day, #GivingTuesday and other celebrations of volunteerism.
1. Volunteer at a homeless shelter
Employees and their families at 11Alive, an Atlanta-area TV station, are volunteering at a shelter for women and children called My Sister’s House. Coworkers from parent company TEGNA are joining them. John Deushane, general manager of 11Alive, says Make A Difference Day demonstrates “how easy it is to volunteer and how lives can be changed … for both those being helped as well as for those helping.”
2. Teach kids athletic skills
Experts recommend that corporate #GivingTuesday activities be strategic and on-brand. Reebok did just that last year by encouraging its customers to support Fight For Peace, an organization that teaches kids boxing and martial arts combined with education and personal development.
3. Ask for favorite charity nominations
CVS Health invites employee volunteers to nominate a charity in their local communities for a grant from the CVS Health Foundation. In response to the overwhelming success of the 2013 #GivingTuesday campaign, the foundation in 2014 more than doubled its commitment and awarded a total of $100,000 to 50 organizations nationwide.
4. Let employees volunteer at their charity of choice
Ryder System, Inc., the commercial fleet management and supply chain company, invites employees to volunteer on #GivingTuesday at local charities of their choice. During a recent year, 220 employees participated from 29 Ryder locations across the country.
5. Make your city beautiful
The City of Mesa (Ariz.) is spearheading an effort to get everyone in town involved in Make A Difference Day. City staff along with residents, neighborhood groups, local businesses and church groups are volunteering on a variety of beautification and cleanup projects, including painting, landscaping and distributed neighborhood resource bags.
Make A Difference Day and #GivingTuesday Celebrate Gratitude
Gratitude is transformative in the workplace! Want to build gratitude in your workplace? Download gThankYou’s must-have free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude.” It’s full of practical learning that you can start putting to use today. Learn from positive psychology and leadership experts how to build (and sustain!) a workplace culture of gratitude that attracts employees and customers.
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