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What Are Companies Doing to Give Back and How Can I Get Involved?

Posted on August 03, 2007

By Alan Ranzer

Companies are doing all kinds of wonderful programs to give back to amazing causes all around the world. From local partnerships with charities at home to pairing up with charities at a meeting destination, corporations are finding ways for their employees to give back. Here are some interesting programs I’ve learned of recently:

**One company gives its employees the opportunity to have paid time off for up to 40 hours of volunteer work. When the employee meets the 40-hour mark, the company will donate $500 to the charity where the employee worked.
**Another company plans community service days for its employees and then allows employees to make financial donations, which the company will match dollar for dollar, through iGive.

An important point to consider while planning a community service experience is that the program must mesh with the intended participant pool. For example, on an incentive reward trip, I would recommend offering a volunteer program, rather than making it mandatory. Some employees might scoff at the idea of having to sweat for others while on a trip they earned through hard work throughout the previous year. Making it a volunteer opportunity gives the employees that want to take part the opportunity to do so, without causing friction. As another example of matching the program with the participants, I wouldn’t have a group of retirees build a playground in tropical heat!

How do you get involved with volunteer opportunities? There are many avenues. First, find out if your company has a social responsibility division, or a department that handles corporate giving. Often times there is at least one person that deals with that on behalf of the company. Find that person and use him/her as a resource! You might find that your company has a separate foundation established to manage its philanthropic activities. Another option is to call your HR department. They’re there for you. See who/what they know! Additionally, you can call a community service based teambuilding company, such as my own, to find out what unique opportunities are out there. Finally, check out what is happening in your local community by using a service such as Volunteer Match, which lists opportunities, community by community, on its website.

The bottom line is this: there are many people/communities in need out there, and corporations are coming to the table with more than just their checkbooks these days. Your next meeting could be a priceless experience for participants and beneficiaries in the local community alike!


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