6 Holiday employee engagement ideas for good causes

by | Dec 7, 2022 | Community, Environment, Food Waste, Hunger Relief

The winter holidays offer an ideal opportunity to re-engage your employees, whether they work remotely or in the office. It’s a time to acknowledge and celebrate all that your team has overcome and accomplished this past year. But it’s also a challenging time of year for many—including, perhaps, your team members. So, for those of you who are looking for fun and festive, yet meaningful holiday employee engagement ideas, this is for you. Get into the holiday spirit by giving back, volunteering, donating, and supporting good causes as a team.   

Giving back and doing good makes you feel good

When you help someone in need or support a good cause, you’re not just helping them or the cause. You’re also helping yourself. (And everyone on your team.) 

“When people are altruistic and generous, it creates a response in the brain that taps into positive emotions,” explains Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist and research director at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health. “The brain also produces and releases neurotransmitters and hormones, such as dopamine and oxytocin, that help us feel happiness and pleasure.”

Doing good makes you feel good. It gives you a sense of purpose, gratitude, happiness, and connectedness—with yourself, your team, and anyone else involved. That good feeling stays with you too. Giving back has also been known to help reduce stress and support better health and wellness. It’s a win-win.

With so much going on in the world, there are unlimited ways to help. Come together as a team this holiday season and decide what causes are most important to you. Are they social or humanitarian? Environmental? Economic? All of the above? Local? Country-wide? 

Dig in and get creative on engaging your team in festive, fun, and truly meaningful activities this holiday season. Here are some ideas to help get started. 

6 Good causes and employee engagement ideas for this holiday season

7 Good causes and employee engagement ideas for this holiday season

1. Give holiday gifts that support a good cause

It’s the thought behind a gift that truly counts. Last Christmas, I received a gift certificate explaining that I helped protect an Old Growth Forest because the gift-giver donated funds to the charity on my behalf. Both the gift-giver and I loved the idea that we were supporting a meaningful cause, and it helped the organization continue to do their great work for the planet.  

Why not do a Secret Santa where every gift is a small donation to a charity of your choice? For instance, Second Harvest has a Shopify gift catalogue where anyone can provide a meal for Canadians in need. As little as $5 will provide enough food for over ten healthy meals for Canadians who are struggling with food insecurity this holiday season. 

Give holiday gifts that support a good cause

2. Host a fundraising holiday party and donate the proceeds

For all those who have their hearts set on a staff holiday party, why not add a good-cause element to it? Make it a holiday fundraiser. You could get local businesses to donate items and do a raffle or an auction. Have a donation bucket or a holiday bake sale. Or, you could charge employees a nominal ticket price where all proceeds go to a good cause. 

There are many great ways to fundraise and show your support for non-profits and good causes any time of year. 

3. Make a monetary donation

Funding keeps organizations that fight for good causes afloat. Find your collective favourite cause and/or organization and donate in honour of your team. Your support makes all the difference, especially during the winter holidays, but any day, week, or month of the year. 

Giving this holiday season, after all, helps you and all those you support. 

Donate to help us rescue food and feed Canadians this winter holiday. 

4. Pledge to volunteer as a team for a good cause

Volunteering together as a team is one of the best ways to engage your employees in person around a good cause this holiday season. Once you’ve chosen a good cause you want to support, look into local volunteering opportunities. Many groups look for volunteering opportunities during the holiday season but it’s important to note that volunteers are needed year-round. Consider scheduling a regular commitment to volunteer monthly or quarterly with your team or engaging with non-profits outside of the holiday season. Quite often, non-profits are unable to satisfy all of the requests to volunteer in December, but find themselves short-handed during other times of the year.

Reach out to organize holiday volunteering. Give employees time off to volunteer. Then, host a team get-together afterwards to celebrate. 

Volunteer with Second Harvest to help rescue food waste and feed Canadians.

5. Donate surplus food

If you’re in the Canadian food industry, you can start donating your surplus food. Second Harvest rescues donated surplus food and redistributes it to Canadians in need. , Donating your surplus food helps reduce your businesses’ carbon footprint, as food waste is a huge greenhouse gas contributor. We redistribute it to food charities such as food banks, soup kitchens, churches, community centres, and school programs across Canada that feed people good, healthy meals daily.  

Learn more about donating good, healthy food surplus in Canada with Second Harvest

No matter what industry you work in, you and your team can buy meals for food-insecure families and individuals in Canada through Second Harvest. 

Donate food or buy a meal for someone in need: Winter holiday employee engagement ideas

6. Ask your employer to match employee donations

Employer-matching donations double the impact and when paired with employee teams can significantly increase the support to non-profits, like Second Harvest. This corporate philanthropy approach is a structured way for companies to get behind the good work being done in communities, as well as elevate their corporate social responsibility profile. But most importantly, the gifts or donation go twice as far.

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