I grew up fairly poor. My family could afford the necessities, but that was that – no extras. My mom sewed our clothes. We got one present at Christmas – that kind of stuff. Nothing terrible – we never struggled to eat – but there definitely weren’t any outings to the movies, fancy vacations, or ballet classes. I remember feeling self-conscious about it at times. Kids would be wearing the hottest brands, and I got picked on a bit for not being able to afford them.
Growing up like that softened my heart quite a bit, and altruism is somewhat of a must for me. This same requirement is something I seek in the companies I consider working for as well. One of my favorite questions to ask a potential employer is “What do you do to give back to the community?”
If you, too, have a charitable heart and you’re looking for ways to spread some goodness in your company, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve started quite a few charitable initiatives at prior companies, and all have been well-received.
Without further ado, here’s a short list of charitable events you can host at your workplace.
I’ve run a few successful blood drives with OneBlood. You can contact them and get in touch with the territory coordinator and let them know you want to run a blood drive. They need an area where they can park their Big Red Bus (maybe 3 parking spots in length – if you only have street parking, contact your city to reserve the spots/meters). They will also give you a goal of how many units of blood they’d like to collect. It’s then on you to market the heck out of your event and get your colleagues to donate blood. If you work in a multi-business office building, you can also collaborate with these businesses and have them promote the blood drive. In the past, I was able to acquire many additional signups by including other companies in our events.
Pet food and supply drives have by far been my most successful charitable endeavors – because who doesn’t love fluffy kittens and puppies? We’re in Tampa, so I’m going to leave this Florida-centric: Publix has BOGOs on pet food very frequently, so I’ve made it a habit to buy a few small bags when the sales do happen. I’ll stockpile the food until I have a trunkful, then drive it to my local no-kill animal shelter. When I run my pet food drives, I encourage people to wait for these sales so they’re able to get twice as much food as they would otherwise. Another thing I’ve done is add raffle prizes where the entry ‘tickets’ are cans of pet food – ie, one can = one entry, etc.
Partner with an organization like Toys for Tots and get collection bins set up in your office. You can either drop the toys off yourself, or get in touch with your local coordinator and schedule a pickup date and time.
There are countless other opportunities to insert some philanthropy in Corporate America. Fundraise for natural disaster relief, organize a 5k fun run for charity, host a coastal cleanup event, etc – there are so many ways to get companies involved in doing something for the greater good, and in my experience, these events have always been popular, in addition to being a kickass PR / Media opportunity.
With how easy charities make it to contribute to their cause, I challenge you to be a changemaker in your organization. I commend you for wanting to make the world a better place. Let’s inject some good in the world – together.
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