Tag Archives: Corporate charity

Running a Charity Drive in the Office

At NJMET, we run a number of charity drives during the year.  We have found it best to link these drives to specific holiday seasons.  We run a food drive in the weeks before Thanksgiving and a toy drive during December.    We also run drives to donate personal care items and candy during the winter and early spring.

We’ve learned some keys to success in running these drives, namely:

  • Pick a local organization to be the beneficiary of the donations.
  • Invite your employees, clients, vendors, and neighbors to participate by publicizing the drive using signs around the office and e-mail messages.
  • Restrict the collection time to a week or two at most.

You can find more information on running a successful drive on many sites on the Web.  On of them,  MEND’s website, has plans for both food drives and toy drives that can be adapted for any type of drive.

Here are links to information about some of our recent drives:

Annual Thanksgiving Drive for Eva’s Kitchen and The Oasis Haven for Women and Children of Paterson, NJ

Continuing Support for Sri Lankan Refugees 

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In-kind giving helps both charity and contributing corporation

In-kind giving is an often overlook form of corporate charitable giving.   A recent article in Forbes highlights a successful corporate giving program at Vans.

In their own words, Van describes itself as “Off the Wall Since 1966, is an iconic, Southern California-based, youth culture brand and the original action sports footwear company.” Their in-kind program, the Custom Culture contest, began with a single contribution of shoes to a teacher to decorate. The art competition, centered around customizing blank Vans sneakers, now involves over 200 high schools, a Final Event in New York City and a $50,000 prize to the winning school.

As the Forbes article states: “Aside from the obvious benefits to nonprofits, there are so many reasons for businesses to leverage the advantages of gifts in kind, from the impressive tax deductions that accompany these forms of giving – with even greater tax benefits for companies than donating cash – to the very real potential for increased employee engagement, recruitment and retention.” Charity As Art: Vans Makes Philanthropy Cool

For Vans, it was easier than for many other companies to find a natural tie between their brand and charitable work.   Van’s youthful corporate culture,  sports shoe product, and emphasis on artistic expression is a perfect fit for a competition for high school students focusing on art, music, action sports and street culture.

As Forbes points out, “you don’t need to be a hip brand to engage your employees around giving back. Any company would be well served to find vehicles for employee engagement as perfect for its mission as Custom Culture is for Vans.”

At my company, NJMET, we have created a number of successful opportunities for employees to participate in corporate philanthropy.  (Check out some of our activities in NJ MET in the News on our website.)   We don’t see a natural tie-in between what NJMET does – testing electronic components – and an in-kind program.  Don’t let this discourage you, though. Take a few moments to read the Forbes article on Vans. Perhaps it will inspire you to find that perfect in-kind program the does good while promoting your brand.  You can start small, as Vans did, and let the program grow naturally.

Welcome

I have promoted NJ MET’s charity program for the past 15 years.  At our company, like many others, charitable giving is part direct contributions from the company and part employee and customer fundraising.  Our employees and customers are incredibly supportive of our fund raising efforts. 

I believe that corporate charity programs are important for lots of reasons – helping the community, increasing employee morale, developing employees’ leadership skills, are just a few.  Corporate charity is a great example of doing well by doing good.

I hope to encourage other businesses to embark on, or expand, their own charity programs by sharing ideas and suggestions on how to make a program work.  I’ll include specific activities that have worked at NJ MET as well as point to creative ideas from across the internet.