Corporate Giving Shouldn’t Be About Good PR
At Sirois Tool, our charitable giving takes place year round. Last June, we sponsored the Concorso Ferrari & Friends event to benefit Connecticut Children’s, the only health system in Connecticut dedicated to children. Earlier in the spring, we held our first ever Hawaiian Shirt Employee Charity Challenge.
For the Charity Challenge, we encouraged all employees to wear a Hawaiian shirt to work on a designated day. We promised to make a $100 donation to each employees’ favorite charity if they wore their Hawaiian shirt and agreed to be photographed wearing it. Everyone enjoyed the event, which generated $3,500 in donations to multiple various charities.
Because everyone had so much fun, we’re doing it again this month, but we’re changing the apparel to coincide with the Christmas holiday. Instead of Hawaiian shirts, we’re inviting all employees to wear the brightest, tackiest, most hideous Christmas sweater they can find. Each employee who agrees to appear in a group photo wearing one of these fashion nightmares on December 16th will get $100 donated to their favorite charity, courtesy of Sirois Tool.
We expect high participation, but not simply because Sirois Tool is writing the checks. Our employees are intrinsically motivated to help others, which they demonstrated to us again just before Thanksgiving.
In lieu of turkeys, Sirois Tool gave all employees grocery store gift cards to use for their holiday feasts. Instead of keeping the cards for themselves, many employees donated them to the St. Vincent du Paul Middletown’s Amazing Grace Food Pantry. We weren’t at all surprised by their generosity.
Helping others is as important to our employees as it is to us. And while many companies routinely make corporate giving part of their annual plans, they don’t always consider their employees’ interests. Many large corporations have fundraising efforts all year to benefit a single charity of the company’s choosing. These companies raise several hundred thousand dollars each year for non-profit organizations and receive favorable media attention. However, employees are sometimes less enthusiastic due to the pressure to donate to a charity they don’t feel vested in.
We recognize that our employees come from diverse backgrounds and their charitable interests vary widely. Some are passionate about supporting animals, others are interested in helping veterans, some want to provide for the homeless, and others want to contribute to their churches.
That’s why we donate to the charities they choose. We know we won’t make headlines for giving smaller amounts to multiple charities, and we’re just fine with that. Helping our employees contribute to causes that are meaningful to them is worth so much more. It makes us feel good and it makes them feel good, all year round.