Spread a Little Joy: Small Business Giving in Charlotte
Recapture the holiday spirit with a corporate giving program.
The holidays are here and many of us are rushing to purchase the perfect gift, bake the most delicious cookies and adorn our trees with brightly colored bulbs. This time of the year has everyone feeling generous and as we shower ourselves and loved ones with special treats, we must remember the true meaning of our holiday spirit – giving to those in need. As Mary Anne Radmacher once said, “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way”. Everyone deserves a little extra light during the holidays and even the smallest act of kindness can turn someone’s entire day around.
Small business owners realize the importance of community engagement. As Charlotte rapidly grows into a major metropolitan area, the residents still embrace the small-town feel and closeness of our community. The holidays offer a special opportunity to small business owners in Charlotte to give back to our beautiful city and inspire their employees to work as a team towards a greater good. Giving back doesn’t always mean donating money; there are several ways your business can contribute without writing a check while having fun at the same time.
Volunteering as a company is a great way to build comradery and help out an organization in your community. Everyone is busy during the holidays but finding time during a workday or on the weekend to help out with a cause that is near to an employee’s heart will have a huge impact on your company’s culture. Charlotte offers a variety of opportunities to help different people in different ways, and talking to your employees about which causes are important to them will ensure they remain interested when the actual event takes place.
Attend a Local Charity Event
Charity events are a fun way for you and your team to give back during the holidays and also year-round. Conditions such as cancer or AIDS affect the lives of millions of Americans and chances are, someone in your office has been impacted by these terrible afflictions. Attending a 5K or a fundraiser benefitting a cause that directly relates to one of your employees will really boost team mentality and foster a more communal feel in the office. During the holidays, several non-profits put on events to help those in need and planning to attend with your employees while also giving them the choice to donate will make everyone feel like they are making a difference as a team and also give your company some positive publicity.
Sponsor a Family
Ignite your team’s creativity and sponsor a family or a child this holiday season. Some people do not like to give money because they are not always certain where it goes, but by sponsoring a family or a child, your employees can choose the gifts they give and have the peace of mind in knowing it went directly towards brightening someone’s holiday. This also gives your employees a chance to get creative with their contributions and determine the amount of money spent. Working together as a company to provide a special holiday for an entire family unit or individual children is a memory that they will never forget.
We understand that it is difficult to break away from your schedule to volunteer or attend yet another holiday event. If you know your team members are frantically trying to get through the holidays, consider holding an office contest to benefit the less fortunate. Incentivize employees to volunteer on their own time by rewarding them for time spent engaging in civic activities. Another idea is to design a contest in which the winnings will go to a charity. You could split your team into two groups and have a toy drive, and the group that contributes the most toys gets some sort of prize, or whichever team can pull together the most food for a homeless shelter gets a gift card. Contests bring out a friendly rivalry in your employees and their competitive spirit will benefit local charities.
If you’re really pressed for time, donating is the most time efficient way to give back this season. But donating doesn’t always mean giving money (unless that’s your preference)! There are so many other platforms in which you can donate items over cash in Charlotte and starting an item drive in your office is very easy. Designate someone in your office to manage the project and then just email everyone with a list of items you are going to donate, the due date and information about the cause. Let people drop the items off in the office, deliver them before Christmas and you’re done! Item drives have a very high turnout due to how easy it is for people to participate and because they don’t necessarily have to spend a large amount of money to make an impact.
Work on a Project
Money doesn’t buy happiness and material items can’t give you everything. Some people would be happy to have a roof over their head or some assistance in major repairs that severely bring down the standard of living in their home. We don’t usually imagine poverty in our own backyards but North Carolina is home to over 12,000 homeless men, women and children. The holidays are tough when you do not have shelter and something that may seem small to you could change the life of someone living in poverty.
Small business owners are the leaders of our community and have an opportunity to make a lasting impact this holiday season. Civic engagement not only benefits the recipients but can also bring your team closer together and foster a business culture that values giving. Inspiring your team to get involved does not have stop after the holidays though; scheduling quarterly events to give back will dignify your company as a pillar of the community. Charlotte is growing and becoming a hotbed for entrepreneurship – giving a little back can go a long way.