The holidays are fast approaching which for most means family time, cozy nights at home, delicious food, treats and gifts. For many though, that’s not the case, as there is a large amount of the population that is homeless, malnourished or unable to afford these things. As a company (and as an individual too) it’s a great time to give back! As a company, you can set up a charity or environmental initiative and involve all your employees in a cause that needs help. This project can be a way to get involved and help your community over the holidays.  There’s proof that charitable giving improves employees’ mental health and sense of leadership. At the same time, you can support a great cause while doing a team building activity and give your company a new social impact project. To help you find charitable giving you can do with your team, we’ve shared seven ideas of how your company can give back this holiday season.

Donate to Those in Need

Year end cleaning often has us realizing all the things we haven’t used throughout the year. If you don’t need or use items that are in good condition still, it’s a great idea to donate them. To do this with your company, you can organize a large collection with your employees or you can organize a public collection. Once you’ve collected it all, donate the clothes, items and toys to a charity that distributes them to families and children. One of the worlds largest companies, Amazon, did just this with a delivery of charitable items in their trucks across the US. Amazon donated everything to nonprofit organizations.  Now it’s your turn!  Find a charity in your town that would be happy to receive things your employees don’t want anymore and start donating.

Food Banks 

A lot of people don’t have access to enough food and have to search or beg for food every day. Food Banks are an essential part of many people’s lives and it’s important to donate even more so during the winter. A great charitable idea for the holidays is ,for your company, to participate in supplying food to people in need.  The SF based startup, Anaplan, participated, in collaboration with the San Francisco Food Bank, to collect roughly 23,000 pounds of pears. These were then given to charities and hospitals.  Intel’s employees also got involved, taking part in a canned food drive to support local communities in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank in San Mateo. Different ways to get involved are possible – your company can partner with a food bank that distributes food to the homeless or you can also encourage employees to cook or bake themselves and then share it with people in need.

Ask for Charitable Donations 

Another idea to give back during the holidays is to ask for donations through creating a special campaign or selling products whose profits will be shared with a social or environmental foundation. The employees of your company will also feel more involved and like they are making a difference by working on this special project.  Throughout November and December, Ikea is donating 1 euro to educational projects for every cuddly toy they sell. To top it off, they’ve also organized a soft toys collection to donate them to different charities and foundations.  donations The Swiss supermarket chain, Migros, runs a charity campaign each year in collaboration with associations like Caritas and Pro Juventute. Thanks to their fundraising program they help people in need throughout the holidays.  Finally, the airline Easyjet regularly asks customers for donations in order to help children in need. The funds are then donated to UNICEF.  If this kind of giving back seems fitting for you, the first step is to meet with your team and listen to their ideas around creating a charitable campaign. Then it’s time to start your project!

Give Blood

Giving blood is something that can be done throughout the year. However, you can encourage your employees to act by doing it together during the holidays. The demand for blood is constant but it’s often higher at this time of the year because of an increase in  accidents.  The insurance company, Nationwide, gives time off to their employees to donate blood. Through this they actively participate in helping the community.  This action doesn’t require much time or effort. Nevertheless, it’s important because it can help a lot of people who are desperately in need of blood. You can research the nearest hospital and plan a day to go with your team. 

Organize a Special Event for Charity 

To celebrate this time of the year and to help a cause, your company can organize a special event where the profits will go to a foundation that protects animals, our planet or health care research. Patagonia, a company that has prioritized helping environmental causes for a long time, organized a 100% donation program for Black Friday in 2016. This means the company donated all profits made from sales that  day to grassroots organizations. Since 1985, they have been donated 1% of their sales’ profit to nonprofit organizations that defend environmental causes. patagonia donate Patagonia’s social impact strategy can be something your company can also implement. Moreover, by doing this you also give your customers the opportunity to take action and show them your company values. 

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Today people are more conscious than ever about reducing their impact on the planet. One of the best ways you can do this is by buying carbon offsets that plant trees and bring you to carbon neutrality. To do this, you can calculate your carbon footprint and buy carbon offsets here. It’s a great way to give back to the planet and ensure you’re balancing out your carbon footprint.

Donate Your Time

What is more impactful than experiencing real life suffering? By spending time with people who are facing financial, health or social problems it allows us to really be aware of what they’re going through. An example of an experience like this is the airline, Delta. Since 2013, Delta’s executives have slept outside one night in November to show their support to children who live in those circumstances. They do this in collaboration with the organization Covenant House, whose every event raises funds to give homeless people a better life.  Covenant House launched the Sleep Out Movement throughout the United States and Canada as an act of solidarity and a way to fundraise for their program that offers young people the possibility to have a better life, off the streets.  To undergo an experience like this with your team can be a real eye opening, team building activity.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to give back over the holidays, some large, some small. Depending on which charity you want to support and what resources you can provide, there’s always a way to get your company and team involved. Happy giving back and happy holidays!