With the economy still limping along and unemployment continuing to rise, those of us still in a job have reason to be grateful. But that doesn't mean philanthropy has to go by the wayside. MT asked Peter O’Hara, chief executive of fundraising specialist Workplace Giving, for his ten top tips on making it easier for your staff to give to the less fortunate.
1. Give an hour's pay
Why not encourage everyone to join in and give an hour’s pay once a month? It usually works best if the most highly paid members of staff take the lead. You need to make sure you communicate the initiative effectively to all staff so that they understand what a huge difference that hour can make to somebody’s life.
2. Have a 'D-Day'
Many of your employees will have watched the recent BBC2 programme Queen of Charity Shops featuring Mary Portas and may want to have their own ‘Donate Don’t Dump’ Day. A company’s employees donate one good quality item each on a specific day. This could be a piece of clothing, a book or a record, depending on what the shop needs. www.ddaydonate.charityshops.org.uk
3. Combine a team building event with a charity challenge
Be innovative. If you have offices around the UK, why not set a team challenge that is fun and that anyone can take part in. Perhaps you could set a £5 challenge. Each member of the team gets £5. The Manchester office team needs to get to the London office and vice versa but with only a fiver in their pockets! Or you could have a tube challenge. Let your imagination run wild. Keep it cheap, make it fun. Let other colleagues lay bets on the winning team (all winnings to go to charity).
4. Use a search engine such as Everyclick
Encourage everyone in your office to search using a search engine that generates money for charities, such as Everyclick. You can either click as a company for a chosen charity or employees can click individually.
5. Recycle for Charity
Be part of the initiative to reduce waste and reduce poverty at the same time. There are so many everyday office items that you can recycle for charity. Don’t just throw them away. Recycle mobile phones, inkjet cartridges, laptops and so on with Greensource and help lots of different charities each and every time you recycle.
6. Forge a link with a local school or college
Speak to the local schools and colleges in your area. Do they need help with anything that you could allow your employees time off to contribute to, like literacy and numeracy projects, work experience or mentoring?
7. Make friends in the community
Contact charities in your area to see how your workforce can become involved in befriending a lonely or needy person in the community. Perhaps they could come into the workplace for lunch once a month or an annual charity tea dance could be organised. These are becoming increasingly trendy!
8. Tell your staff there’s no such thing as a free lunch!
If you have a staff restaurant, why not ask everyone to pay an extra 50p/£1 for their lunch once a month, and donate the proceeds to charity.
9. Operate a ‘Shoebox’ scheme at Christmas
This annual project enables caring individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses, and other organisations to fill ordinary shoeboxes with small toys, school supplies, sweets, and other gifts for needy children around the world
10. Ensure you have a Workplace Giving scheme in place for your employees
This HM Revenue & Customs approved scheme allows your employees to give to any charity they choose, directly from their gross pay. This is extremely tax-efficient, especially for the higher rate tax payer. If they donate £6 a month to their favourite charity, this becomes £10 after the tax breaks. Many companies enhance their schemes to back the charity choice of their individual staff members.