By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
JVA has been writing a lot of blogs about holiday shopping for a cause and bringing the holiday spirit to your office, but this week I wanted to tie all those ideas together and suggest ways to get your office in the true holiday spirit. This week’s Ask Amber is about giving back this holiday season together with your coworkers. The following are some ideas of things your office can do to help others this holiday season, either in conjunction with or instead of a holiday party.
In last week’s Ask Amber, I wrote about the simple joy of holiday cards. Why not get your office together to share this same joy with those away from their families this holiday? There are plenty of organizations out there that will collect holiday cards and send them to our troops and/or veterans. Take an office lunch break or a few minutes at the holiday party to write notes to the troops.
A fun idea for those wanting to break away from the traditional office party is to pick a small local shop close to work, or a shop like Ten Thousand Villages that sells fair trade goods, set a spending limit and hold an impromptu “Secret Santa.” Pick a name out of a hat outside the store, give everyone a time and spending limit, and shop confidently knowing that you are supporting a good cause. Once time is up, meet back at the office (if the shop is very close) or a close coffee shop and exchange the gifts. I was once part of a group that did this, and it was a big hit.
If you want to exchange gifts while also giving to your favorite charity, I read a great blog recently that suggested holding a gift exchange for an agreed-upon charity. Collecting donations as an office can really help an organization reach its end-of-year goals. Whether it’s actual presents or an office “piggy bank” that gets donated, your contributions will be very appreciated.
If you work for a larger organization with multiple departments that are very competitive (in a fun way, of course), you can go with the good old fashioned “penny war” or donation drive competition. Inspired by my high school’s class competitions, but without all the complicated rules, a “penny war” is a fun way of raising more money than other teams for a specific charity. If you prefer to collect goods, competing to collect items for a clothing bank or toy drive is a fun way where all charities receiving the contributions win.
Get creative this holiday season and have fun with a purpose. The sky is the limit when it comes to doing good, just make sure that everyone in your office feels included and is excited about the cause you choose, and it is sure to be a great holiday season.