The holidays are a time for giving, but many charities are feeling the squeeze of the recession and donations are down. Promoting philanthropy with employees is a great way to spread the holiday spirit and promote camaraderie around the office. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips for encouraging charitable giving in the workplace.
The downturn in the economy is taking its toll on everyone, families, small businesses and charities. According to the Giving USA Foundation, charitable giving in the US exceeded $307 billion in 2008. As a result of the tight economy, two-thirds of public charities receiving donations saw decreases in 2008. Charitable giving from individuals dropped 2.7 percent and corporate giving dropped 4.5 percent. The outlook for charitable giving in 2009 is equally bleak.
“With rough economic times for everyone, many families who depend on charity this time of year are facing a lean holiday season,” said H. Art Taylor, CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “Employees and employers who pool their efforts to support a cause, either with their time, money or in kind donations, can make a positive impact for struggling families over the holidays.”
BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends the following ways that small business owners can spread the holiday spirit of giving around the office:
Institute a volunteer day. Giving to a charity doesn’t have to mean pulling out the checkbook. Many charities also rely heavily on the gift of time from volunteers. An office wide volunteer day is a great way to get employees out of the office and working together on something they can be proud of.
Rally around one cause with an office fundraiser. Office bake sales, silent auctions and tag sales are just a few ways to raise money for a charity. If everyone gets involved, then the nickel and dimes can add up to a healthy donation to a needy organization.
Collect food or toys. Around the holidays, many charities are looking for non-perishable food donations or toys. If everyone in the office donates a can of food or a toy, those items can collectively make a huge difference for a less fortunate family’s holiday season.
Offer a matching program. Small business owners can encourage employees to make donations to charities by matching their contributions. Matching programs allows individual employees to choose a cause that might be near and dear to their own heart. By matching their donations, small business owners can show they support their employees with the added benefit of a tax deduction.
Educate employees to be wise givers. Encourage employees to research their charities first with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at www.bbb.org/charity before they give. BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluates more than 1,200 national-soliciting charities against 20 rigorous accountability standards.
For more advice on holiday charitable giving from the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, visit www.bbb.org/charity.