Sarah Ford | November 22, 2011

Dealing with that Thanksgiving “after the feast food coma”

Ah Thanksgiving!  For some, the “feasting” starts with a workplace potluck; for others the feasting is a never-ending event as you drive house-to-house, trying to squeeze in a little bit of this festive time with ALL of your family and friends.  Regardless of when and how much feasting you accomplish, most of us can identify with that all too familiar “after the feast feeling” where we loosen our belts and simply allow that long anticipated food coma to set in.  As we embark on Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, many of us are wrapping up our annual workplace giving campaigns and as we wrap up another season of workplace giving, it can be all too easy to find ourselves stuck with that same Thanksgiving “after the feast food coma” feeling. 

Don’t get stuck in that food coma.  Too many people think of the annual workplace-giving program as a once-a-year thing that you participate in and forget about for the rest of the year.  It’s thinking like that, which misleads many into thinking that workplace giving is dead.  Your company’s workplace giving campaign should be the cornerstone of your company’s overall corporate responsibility strategy. In today’s environment of economic and social change, employers face vast, new opportunities that can liven-up their corporate workplace campaigns (and keep them out of that Thanksgiving “food coma”).

In one of the most comprehensive and nationally representative study to date on workplace giving, the Center on Philanthropy surveyed more than 6,000 full-time employees and interviewed more than 40 company executives with and without workplace campaigns during 2008 and 2009.  This report[1] found that, “Giving through the workplace is the second largest sector of charitable giving, after religion, with employee donors giving 15 percent of their total annual giving through their workplace giving campaigns.”

This proves that not only is workplace giving still very much alive, but also the impact of workplace giving is crucial to the existence of so many non-profit organizations that depend on donor money in order to operate.

What can YOU do to revive your workplace campaign from getting stuck in that “Thanksgiving food coma?”

As we wrap up another season of workplace campaigns, reinvigorate your workplace campaign in 2012 and beyond by considering how your company can incorporate some of these key findings from the Center on Philanthropy’s study[2]:

  • As corporate and individual donors become more strategic in their philanthropy, workplace giving campaigns need to innovate to maximize their value and impact.
  • The most successful workplace giving campaigns provide employees new opportunities for year-round community engagement and can take a variety of forms.
  • Successful workplace campaigns can vary in form, but must align with the values and motivations of employees, companies, and communities.

Giving is a two-way street.

While employers and employees need to keep workplace campaigns alive through more innovative year-round community engagement that aligns with the values and motivations of employees, companies, and communities; charitable groups and nonprofit organizations that promote philanthropy can also learn some things from the key findings listed above.  As a recent article published by the Washington Post stated[3], “these groups [human service organizations] are going to have to start thinking about how their programs can be sustainable during economic downturns. ” In order to thrive and remain sustainable, charitable groups and nonprofit organizations alike need to be innovative in creating new forms of funding and they must also be proactive and creative in making sure that their services and business models align with the needs of employers offering the workplace campaigns.

So as we welcome Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, I leave you with a final thought – how do YOU plan to keep your organization from getting stuck in that “after the feast food coma?”


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