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Some corporations are generous with their donations to local charities. They spend thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars on worthy causes over the years. Usually, the recipients are the decision of the president, maybe a group of vice presidents or even some local managers have the say. It depends on the organization.  Some companies are not as fortunate or they feel they need to bestow more of the profits to their employees, so they encourage the workers to make the donations. That spreads out the wealth and the donations are many, but maybe not as significant.

Here at parsonsKellogg, we’ve come up with what we feel is a better way to make donations to organizations. All of our employees are involved in some group and would like to see some of the money going to that fund. So we decided that instead of having an executive decision on where the funds are allocated, we would let the employees do it. We also don’t limit it to once a year, but all year long.

Here is how our scheme works. Each month we donate a set amount of money to a charitable organization. It is the same each month, so there is really nothing hard to that. However, in addition, we choose a specific employee to make the determination of where that money is going. So, one month it is a shipper on the floor, the next it is perhaps our embroiderer, and maybe one month it is even me, the President. Each has the right to choose the destination of his or her choice.  The only stipulation is that it is a genuine charity, with 501C3 status and recognized as a worthy cause.  We don’t make other restrictions, such as it can’t be a religious organization, or the location of the group. It just has to be a needy cause.

The advantage to our approach is the involvement of each individual into the decision process. We feel it gives each employee a right  and respect for the decision. It also has the added benefit of unearthing some unique organizations, which we might not have been familiar with. Over the past several months we have donated to the Southland Community Land Trust, Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, Food for the Poor, and the United Way. We are  proud that our employees are the ones making these decisions.

Can you implement something like this. We are sure anyone can copy us and are more than willing to help others plan out the approach.

However, there are other ways to make the charitable contribution even more localized and not even to a recognized group. I heard of a local bank in Maine who had a program where they gave some money to a radio station and specifically asked the drive time personalities to highlight the approach. Here what they did. Each week, they had their employees search the area for someone in need. They then had the local Radio host invite those folks to their show and offer them what amounted to an unexpected act of kindness. One week it was a local woman who had her bicycle stolen and they replaced it. Another was a local drop in art studio, where people can come in off the street and learn art, practice art, or just try their hand at it. That week the donation went to the group, but for one long time patron of the place, they also provided some new brushes, which he desperately needed.

So, no matter how you do it, the unexpected way to make donations empowers all and makes your facility a desirable place to work.

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