Reframe the holidays in your workplace to include a more generous approach to your community and selves.

Research shows that employee satisfaction is higher amongst individuals whose employers participate in community engagement (i.e. making donations, volunteering time, working on behalf of nonprofits, etc.). We have created a list of ideas and activities that may help you and your colleagues this holiday season.

  1. Write an organizational philanthropic plan together Assess your organizational values (or dust off the document you already have written) and strategize how you can best align giving in 2017 with those values. (If you have a corporate fund at the Community Foundation Sonoma County, we can help create that plan for you!)
  2. Connect with the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County or United Way Wine Country Select a volunteer opportunity for your whole staff to do over the holidays (or make plans for 2017 Days of Caring), set up a Giving Tree, or adopt a family to support during the holiday season.
  3. Make a charitable contribution in lieu of an office party Pinpoint the charities your employees support and make a cash donation in the amount you would have spent on a holiday party. Challenge employees to make individual contributions. Encourage them to make in-kind gifts (food, warm coats, family gifts) that are on display for your whole team to witness the power of community.
  4. Schedule an Ugly Holiday Sweater Day Create an opportunity to laugh and enjoy one another’s creativity. If you choose to hold a contest for the best (worst!) attire, consider making a small gift to the winners nonprofit of choice.
  5. Express Gratitude Like any habit, gratitude can be cultivated. Ask colleagues to share three things they are grateful for each day, during special gatherings or staff meetings. The goal of the exercise is to shift the emphasis away from receiving presents and to witness how expressions of gratitude are made. Over time, you’ll notice that you and your colleagues will start to wear “gratitude glasses,” and seek out the things in each other to be grateful for. (See how the Community Foundation is doing this during December.)
  6. Play Together Create a space or time for employees to play games together over the holidays. Invite staff of a favorite nonprofit to join you as a way to learn more about their work, passions and individuals behind the mission. Spending one or several hours together builds friendly competition and de-emphasizes drinking that may be associated with some holiday work parties.
  7. Participate in a workplace card or cookie exchange or better yet, chose a nonprofit or the individuals they serve to shower with treats and well wishes. (Hint: Check in with the nonprofit before you plan this so that they can be prepared.)

Have fun and enjoy a philanthropic workplace.

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