Charity as a way for team building and good corporate citizenship

I’m in the middle of doing Movember this year. So far, not so scruffy, or at least I’m not seeing a double-take look by people wondering if I needed directions to the nearest GoTrain out of the city.

As it’s a fairly known charity, it is easy to bring up when asked about the ‘stache/’tee. What the dialogue does is remind people of men’s health, prostate cancer, and annual checkups – which is pretty much the goal of the charity.

At a corporate level, charities provide opportunities for not just raising awareness on the various goals of these charities but also showcases their good corporate citizenship. At a team level within corporations, these activities create a bond amongst team members. The common goal allows for teams to focus on a specific mission which everyone participates in.

Successful charities like UnitedWay create awareness throughout the year. Others like The Pink Ribbon and Movember have used specific months to link to the charity. And still others like JDRF, do a great  job in Toronto with localization like their Battle of the Banks. There are activity based charities like Habitat for Humanity and Aids Walk.

Now here’s a question for leaders: What would you do when there’s charity fatigue but you want to keep the team building activity going? Apart from creating your own team activity like having an inter-department cook off or a sandwich line then give the product to the local food bank or Salvation Army. Organizations have matched donations raised so that it doesn’t have to be too stressful for the individuals. Alternatively, organizations can donate a set amount IF a number of teams participate in the charity whether they raise the money or not. This way, organizationally, the funds are set for the charity but internally, team building is engendered and the focus on raising money doesn’t become the barrier to working towards a goal.

I know charities may not want to hear that last approach, but with corporate partnerships, this is an alternative solution to getting increased participation within the organization. The press the charities get within organizations with the increased participation will gain them increased supporters in the long run.

As a leader, how are you integrating corporate citizenship activities with team building and engagement?

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