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The beginning of the year is a perfect time for giving back, whether we’re thanking others for all the hard work they did last year or spreading cheer by donating time or money to charities that mean the most to us. While you plan your annual company giving strategy, make sure you’re showing gratitude to all of those employees who were there to help make it a success.

Depending on your time or budget allotment, initiatives can be both large and small. Take the time to celebrate you and your team with some of these impactful ideas.

So, What Do You Think?

Reflection on past initiatives is an important part of any corporate philanthropy. Consider writing a letter or creative speech to your employees.

If you have access to video production or a graphic design team, ask them to film your giving event or interview employees about the campaign. This gives your team the chance to share the impact they’re making in an easy-to-digest and shareable format. If you can’t capture the event and employee testimonials in a video, try writing a blog post or post to your company social media accounts.

This is a great opportunity for your employees to socialize a humble brag about the company they work for, and how their employer provides giving and/or volunteering options that matter to them. Hello, employer branding!

Empower Your Team

Displaying your gratitude for employee participation is far more impactful when you give a gift back that means something, rather than a certificate that says “Thank You!” with their name on it. Your employees helped develop and build others through volunteering or donation, so build them up professionally within your company or on their personal career path. Are there any upcoming business fairs in the area that pertain to entire departments in your company? Offer a stipend to each person who participated in your company volunteer or giving program to attend. Were there particular employees who took the giving back or volunteer opportunity beyond your expectations? Give them an opportunity to be the take on a leadership role in the next volunteer or giving campaign hosted by your company. These are gifts that tell your employees you “see” their efforts, and you’re willing to generously reward them with new opportunities.

Surprise! You Rule.

While your employees probably love their career, a day off can do wonders for their productivity. Consider shutting your company doors as a way to show gratitude for CSR participation. If possible, plan it near a holiday so that it flows into family time. This shows employees their work has been appreciated, but that you value their relaxation. If this isn’t a feasible option, bring a relaxation service to the office to help employees while they continue to perform their daily duties. Some unique options include housing a masseuse, manicures or a voucher for a professional vehicle cleaning service.

Cheers, Mates

Nothing brings people together like food and drinks. Depending on the size of your company, you can do the following:

For Larger Companies…

Celebrate another giving or volunteering success by catering a meal as a way of saying thank you to the hardworking team members! Give a quick speech showing your appreciation while they pop champagne or enjoy a nice snack. Feel free to post the results of their efforts. Play videos, share pictures and divulge total dollars given or hours volunteered.

For Smaller Companies…

If your company is small enough, treat your teams to a nice restaurant for a food and cocktail hour. As an added thank you, allow team members to invite their significant others or family members. You can restrict the first half to just company members to better reminisce on the giving and volunteering successes.

Sometimes we need someone to tell us it’s okay to relax, let go and just connect on an individual basis instead of like coworkers. Not only does this show appreciation and inspire future participation, it can be a great bonding experience. Your employees go above and beyond to give back outside of company walls, now it’s your turn as a leader to do the same for them.

Corporate philanthropy and CSR employee participation can sometimes be the greatest challenge a management team faces. Appreciation initiatives can do wonders for increasing interest.