Making your employees feel proud to be an employee

Letting your employees how to donate company money will make a bigger mark.
Letting your employees how to donate company money will make a bigger mark.

Sitting in my office I heard my wife exclaim from her office “That’s wonderful!” Naturally I was curious and asked her “What was wonderful?” She said she had just received the company newsletter and it contained a story that she said told about something the company did that was “just so cool.”

Company cool

The story related that employees in the New York headquarters came to work in the morning one day to find a card on their desk. In each card was a $10 bill and a note that said ““Use these ten dollars to do something good or kind. Anything you choose. It can be for you, a stranger, a coworker, your family or your community. Just drop us a note telling us how you decided to use it.” According to the newsletter story “The responses we got back were overwhelming! Our employees‘ efforts included giving to the homeless and hungry, supporting Nepal, helping animals, planting trees and creative ways to brighten up a fellow colleague’s or stranger’s day.”
Here, excerpted from the newsletter, are samples of the responses they got:

  • “Some of the folks on the 60th floor decided to participate together. The team decided to cover a semester of tuition to help a girl (who grew up in an orphanage) living in Haiti. She was recently hired as a part time program coordinator by a nonprofit organization to help execute a community service program that provides dental service and education to underprivileged children via a partnership with a local dental school. This way, we help on an individual and on a programmatic level.”
  • “I saw a little boy at our local flower market eye some flowers that he wanted to buy for his mother but didn’t have the money. I gave him the $10 to help him out. It was mother’s day after all and he really wanted to do something special for her. I’m just happy I could help him do that for her.”
  • “I bought a homeless man pizza and apples for the central park horses!”
  • “Bought lunch for the shoe shine repair man.”
  • “Donated it to a 14 year old girl in the Philippines who has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.”
  • “I added it to a $100 donation I made myself ($110 total) to the UNICEF US Fund for the Nepal Earthquake and submitted the donation for the … company match.”
  •  “I used the $10 and bought a new outfit for a child in need in Queens where recently there has been a robbery. This family lost a lot and in helping the child with everyday necessities, I hope I made a difference – even if just a smile.”
  •  “I bought Starbucks for the two people behind me in line yesterday. They both said it made their day!”
  • “His name is Albert… a street vendor on the corner of 48th and Madison. Every day, even in sub-freezing temperatures, he’s out on the curb selling his handmade paper cut-outs. I purchased a cut-out of the empire state building for $10 – it made Albert happy – his first sale of the day!”
  • “Southside 53 combined our $10s to buy an Amazon gift card for the cleaning lady that comes every night, to show our appreciation!”
  • “Gave the money to my kids and had them give it to homeless in the subway.”
  • “Bought glittery stickers and an ice cream party for a group of 3rd graders in the Bronx.”

Individual meaning

As you can see everyone had a different idea of what they could do. This was not an organized charity effort, or a habitat house or some other company idea (though this company does those things too), it was an opportunity to make a mark as they saw fit.
My wife beams with pride that she works for such a company. Wouldn’t you like all your employees to be so proud? Try an effort like this and allow your employees to use their creative efforts to make a difference they really want to make.
Photo by David Castillo Dominici.

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