This is the time of year when many organizations and their employees open their checkbooks and contribute their time to help those in need. There are multiple opportunities to volunteer and streamlined processes to donate during this traditional season of giving.

But here’s the thing: Need isn’t seasonal. It’s an equal opportunity to give, all 12 months of the year.

I’d like to suggest that instead of focusing all your organizational and employee giving efforts just in the months of November and December, you instead create a culture of giving all year round.

How do you do that?  Here are some ideas.

  • At the beginning of the year, select a charity to support through donations and/or volunteering for the year; encourage employees to make individual donations to the charity selected
  • Ask employees to recommend charities to support and then select a different one each month or quarter to contribute to
  • Set a company fundraising goal for a particular cause and ask employees to help you reach it
  • Match employee individual donations
  • Give employees a set number of hours per year that they can use to volunteer
  • Have a team competition to see who can raise the most money for a cause or charity

Many people make their buying decisions and their job decisions based on a company’s reputation for giving back. This means that in addition to a giving culture helping those in need, it also provides many intrinsic benefits for your company and your employees.

  • Consumers want to buy from you
  • Job candidates want to work for you
  • Employees feel good working for a company that cares

Another thing about a giving culture is that giving is usually a demonstration of kindness. And it’s clear that in our current divided and often mean environment we can all use a lot more kindness. To those in need and among ourselves.

Leaders, it starts with you.  Set the example by treating your individual employees, your team, your customers, your vendors, your job candidates, everyone, for that matter, with kindness. Lead with the question, “How can I help you?” instead of “How will this transaction help me?” Encourage employees to be proactive in helping each other and recognize those who consistently demonstrate that spirit.

Just think about it. Giving and kindness within the organization and giving and kindness to others. What a wonderful world it would be.