Giving back to people in need in your community is not only a wonderful thing to do during the holidays, it's also a way to get your agency out and about, meeting new people and making a positive change in your area. Not only will your team be working together for good, you'll be putting your best foot forward in terms of community outreach. Acting as a cause-driven "corporate citizen" builds trust and respect for your brand while making a difference.
Certainly giving back can be done all year, but many people focus on donating to charities and helping out during the holidays since it's a time when people's needs tend to be highlighted. Here are some excellent ways for you and your team to get involved and make a difference this holiday season.
HOST A HOLIDAY RELATED EVENT
Hosting or sponsoring an event that brings people together and offers ways to help the community is an easy way to raise awareness for local causes. It doesn't need to be something major. You can host a community coat, food or toy drive. Food drives are popular because food can be divvied up into complete meals and delivered to local families who may be without a holiday meal.
Many businesses also put up a tree in their office with ornaments or tags containing items or gift requests from local shelters. Business patrons can choose something from the tree to bring back to your office, that your staff can then deliver to the shelter for their use.
VISIT LOCATIONS WHERE PEOPLE MAY BE WITHOUT FAMILY
Most people are used to large, festive gatherings during the holidays and while this year we're learning that many of us have been taking the opportunity to spend time with our families for granted, some people don't have family or friends to be with this time of year at all.
You and your team could plan a trip to a local nursing home, hospital or shelter to spend time with patients whose family either live far away, or who have none. Loneliness is at its peak this time of year, so remember that money isn't always the most important thing you can spend. Time with someone who is lonely can sometimes make a bigger difference.
VOLUNTEER AT LOCAL FOOD PANTRIES AND SOUP KITCHENS
Designate a morning, afternoon or evening for you and your staff to take the helm behind the stove or the counter at a local soup kitchen. Most soup kitchens and food pantries are run by churches, schools or other non-profits who are always in need of help, especially during the holidays.
If you wanted to take it a step farther, pick one that your team could visit once a month. This provides your agency with the opportunity to promote what you're doing so that you can ask others to join you by either donating food to the food pantry, or offering time of their own to help.
ADOPT A FAMILY
As an agency, you're likely dealing with people who are on the more fortunate side of life. People who own their own homes and cars. People who can afford things others may not be able to afford. It doesn't hurt to let customers know that your agency is always looking for families in need to help out. Many people are not likely to ask for help, but that doesn't mean that the community isn't aware of who is in need. You and your staff can organize donations of clothes, household goods or even money within your agency that could make a big difference to a family or two in your community.
Not only will any of these opportunities to help bring your staff closer together while getting yourselves out into the community, but you will be adding to the holiday spirit by helping those who are less fortunate than yourselves. If that isn't a win-win-win combination, then we don't. know what is.