Corporate Giving: How One Business Gives Back


Each employee is given $500 cash, and the only requirement is to give it away before the company Christmas party so you can come back and tell the story.

If you own a business, have you ever considered how you can get your employees more involved in giving? Or if you are an employee, maybe you'd like to inspire the leadership and fellow employees at your company to incorporate more generosity at work. Here's a story from one business leader (who wishes to remain anonymous) of how he orchestrated a corporate giving challenge among the 24 employees in his small business: 

In 2010, our 14th year in business, we began what is most likely one of the most memorable traditions we have at our company. We call it the Giving Challenge, because we challenge employees to give away money to worthy causes.

Each employee is given $500 cash, and the only requirement is to give it away before the company Christmas party so you can come back and tell the story. We encourage giving to people or causes where you have an opportunity to feel the impact and build a relationship. If you simply write a check and put it in the mail, it may be a worthy cause, but you may not get the full impact of the gift of giving.

The idea for this tradition came from the truth of Jesus quoted by Paul in Acts 20:35:

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ 

In addition, many people in our society never get to experience the gift of giving so we wanted to make sure our employees were not denied this gift.

Since we are a technical company, this kind of challenge took some people out of their comfort zones. However, the response has been overwhelming. Since 2010, our employees have given big tips to toll booth employees, given away iPads as a diagnostic tool for clinicians, bought winter clothing items, bought new mattresses, and paid utility bills. 

The benefit our employees receive each year as they bless others is noticeable when they tell their stories. At the Christmas Party, we set up a video camera and microphone, and each employee takes a few minutes to share their unique story. Seeing the emotion on peoples’ faces as they recount the impact their giving had on another person’s life is priceless. The clips are then assembled into a DVD for each employee to take home to share with their families.

Yesterday, we had a new employee come to his first company meeting, and it happened to be the kick-off for the Giving Challenge. He was shocked to be handed $500 at his first meeting and told to go give it away. The look on his face was my gift for the day. I can’t wait to see what the team comes back with this year.


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