6 Ways Your Company Can Give Thanks

In honor of Thanksgiving, we present this post on ways your company can express its thanks to the community of which it’s a part. Sure, it’s nice to have a few days off of work, and turkey decorations can be fun to play with.

But giving back is more meaningful. This is true for almost everyone concerned: employees feel like the company they work for cares about the world at large; teams build greater cohesion when volunteering together; your company’s public image gets a boost (deserved, not manufactured); you get to network with a new set of connections.

Here are 6 ways your company can be thankful.

1. Office Volunteering

Nothing boosts the spirit like volunteering. It’s a great way to build team morale and get your employees out of the office. Golf and paintball are boring. Why not let your team-building exercises make a real difference?

Try VolunteerMatch to find an appropriate partner. Or check out Habitat for Humanity. Call your local school district. Find a soup kitchen. Doesn’t matter what — organizations always need your help.

If you can commit to everyone in the office volunteering one day per quarter, you’ll do a huge amount of good in the world.

2. Donate Goods

If you can’t make the time, you can always collect clothes, electronics, office supplies, or almost any other item, and donate them to people in need.

Dress for Success provides interview clothing to low income women. Career Gear does the same for men. Project Night Night gives blankets, stuffed animals, and books to homeless children. World Computer Exchange sends technology all over the world. Soles4Souls distributes slightly used shoes.

Come holiday season, ask employees to empty out their closets. Empty out the technology closet(s) in your company’s office space! You’ll keep things out of the dump, and help someone in the world.

3. Run a Food Drive

Similarly, you can use this opportunity to run a food drive, collecting food for families in need. Feeding America can connect you with a local food bank. Many local churches and other religious organizations distribute food.

It’s not hard to do, and it can easily help out hundreds of people.

4. Donate your expertise

Much like doing pro bono work, businesses can donate their particular expertise to non-profits who need it. Lend your financial acumen for an hour a week. Help a charity design their website. Use your software or technical knowledge to assist a non-profit with setting up donation systems. Teach an adult class on whatever you know best.

A Billion + Change can help pair you up with the right organizations. So can the above-mentioned VolunteerMatch.

5. Provide incentives to employees who donate

Monica from Friends wears turkey on head as prize idea for office volunteering

Sure, it feels good to give. But why not make it fun, too? Give creative incentives to employees who volunteer. How about additional relaxed dress days to those who volunteer/give the most? A special lunch, cooked by you? Of course, there's nothing like the promise of a turkey dance to get the office volunteering!

Want more ideas? Let the person who brings in the most donations play music in the office all day. Sing them a special song (hopefully embarrassing you in the process). Buy a funny hat and rotate it among the top volunteers. Let the biggest volunteer choose a costume for you to wear for a week.

Doesn’t really matter what it is; just make it fun! Without spending a cent, you’ll make donating or volunteering a more integrated part of your workplace’s culture.

6. Donation Matching

If you’re up for spending a little more, donation matching is a great way to use your company’s money for good. Tell employees that if they donate part of their salary, you’ll match their donation dollar for dollar. You can cap the amount you’ll contribute — $1500 per employee, say.

Not only do you get to give money to worthy causes, you also get your employees to be invested in giving money to worthy causes. And you get the publicity of giving money to worthy causes. It’s thankfulness all around!