How does your business handle charity days?

It’s one of the areas where there’s very little advice for either employers or staff members. How do you handle charitable giving in your business?

Bake sale

From ‘Jeans for Genes’ to coffee and cake mornings; individual charity events and the company’s own Corporate and Social Responsibility commitments, there’s a lot of charity work going on inside businesses.

Whilst they are great for team building, motivation and personal development, there are also times when employees feel under too much pressure to give, and charity events negatively impact productivity. So what’s the best advice for employers?

  1. Set an example – Most businesses have at least one designated charity, which they support for a fixed term. Internal charity events are designed to raise funds for this charity and no other causes are considered. Depending on the size or type of business, more than one charity may be supported. This helps employers to confine charity day activity to things that are directly related to the chosen cause.
  2. Be reasonable – your employees will have their own charities that they support. If someone is running a marathon, cycling from London to Paris, shaving their head or sitting in a tub of baked beans for 48 hours, they are going to ask their work colleagues for donations. Set out a format for asking for donations so that no-one feels forced or obliged to give.
  3. Include staff in decisions – when you are choosing a charity, ask your staff for nominations. This will allow them to put forward charities that are particularly important to them, and results in greater engagement and motivation.
  4. Separate ‘charity’ from ‘gift donations’. It’s common for work colleagues to collect for staff members who are getting married, having children, reaching certain workplace achievements or need particular support. Again, the best approach is to have a policy that covers how these donations are solicited and across what proportion of the business . Many companies just collect within the relevant department, or subsidise collections for particular events.

The type of rules you put in place for charitable giving are closely tied with your corporate values, so it pays to spend the time getting this right. For advice on drawing up sensible but flexible charity policies, just contact us today.


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