Charitable Involvement in the Workplace

Dear, Anita,

My company would like all of our departments to become involved in the executives’ pet charity. There is one large annual event, for which my department has been given some responsibilities. How can I get the employees I supervise enthused about this extra workload? Plus, the event itself is after hours. Am I obligated to pay overtime to employees who participate?

Dear, Involuntary Volunteer,

Corporate social responsibility is important, so I’m pleased that your company is taking an active role in a community charity. Despite the fact that the company will benefit from favorable publicity and goodwill from their customers and the general public (Ben & Jerry’s springs to my mind), it’s noble and fitting for the “haves” to help the “have nots.” When employees feel they are working for a company with a conscience, they will likely be more engaged in their jobs and willing, if not enthusiastic, to participate in the annual event.

I’ll get off my soapbox now to address the nuts and bolts of your question. Are you and the executives clear on the amount of time and resources the assigned tasks will require from your department?  Asking for employees to donate their personal time is one way to go, but if there are deliverables that need to be executed and plans that need to be made to pull the event off, allotting time during work hours will guarantee the projects get done without excuse.

Select Staffing Santa Barbara International Marathon

Select Staffing Santa Barbara International Marathon

When a company is looking for a philanthropic partnership that their employees will rally around, it helps if the charity relates somehow to your core business. For example, my friends at Select Staffing sponsor the Santa Barbara International Marathon and are partnering this year with a local Job Smart program, collecting donated shoes to help local job seekers put their best foot forward.  To generate enthusiasm, your company executives could announce the new charitable partnership in a companywide meeting or through a newsletter, intranet site, or other internal mode of communication. Sometimes, though, you as a middle manager may be required to be the torch bearer and relay mandates from the executives to your team. Do your best to promote the charity’s purpose and main goals and outline how your department will contribute. Most employees won’t mind a break from the mundane for some once-a-year assignments.

Charity EventAttendance at the after-hours event should be voluntary. I’m not a lawyer, but common sense tells me that if you are requiring people to attend the charity event, then they must be paid.  Your company may wish to promote participation by offering to pay any employee’s entry fee, admission charge, or per-plate contribution. (They are on their own for raffles and silent auctions!)

Readers: In which charity does your company invest time and money? How do employees participate?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. joellehere4blog
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 22:48:15

    What does this have to do with any occupation to offer ??



  2. ciindy475
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 09:39:45

    Find me a job asap



    • anitaclew
      Nov 05, 2013 @ 17:00:33

      Cindy, I am not employed by a staffing company, so I am not able to directly help you find a job, other than with my expert advice! I can tell you that if you have already put in an application with one of The Select Family of Staffing Companies, you should be receiving an email from them shortly. If you have not received an email in one week, contact the Personnel Supervisor at your local office. Best of luck!



  3. Sherry Stowell
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 08:19:39

    Most companies that I have worked for seem to gravitate towards our local chapter of the United Way organization. One organization chose to do fundraising activities for their own, as they were a not-for-profit (hospital) instead of Aloha United Way. This was in order to show potential contributors that we had fundraising initiatives in support of our hospital’s mission to provide healthcare to all, whomever they may be.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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