Encouraging staff to be charitable is a good part of corporate social responsibility.

And when done well can be a great team building activity. Studies have shown that doing good deeds improves mood, productivity and morale.

For business owners, this has the potential to lead to a great benefit in networking and marketing opportunities, as well as increase the visibility of your company locally.

Get buy-in from the team

Nobody wants to be pressured into giving, and forced charity can harm morale and make staff resentful. Asking your team which charities they support and backing the most popular is one good strategy for finding a cause that people are happy to get behind.

Then, making sure that everyone understands that donations are voluntary may help ease the minds of some staff. You never know who may be struggling financially behind the scenes, and might have little or nothing to spare.

Put the fun into fund-raising

Raising money for a charity or showing support to a cause can come in many forms. But it does help if you make sure it’s fun! Bake sales are a popular one in the UK. Or how about a guess the baby competition, skills auction or fancy dress day. Feeling inspired? You can find a whole heap of other ideas here. We like idea number 40 – the buzzword jar.

If you are feeling adventurous, you could organise an eye catching sponsored activity like abseiling or fire walking. Events like these can raise huge sums of money although they’re not for the faint-hearted.

Think it through

Whatever you decide, office fundraisers do need thinking through. If everyone is on a sponsored silence who will answer the phones? If you have a big, important meeting that day, is it really a great idea to have your reception staff dressed as clowns?

Also, consider that not everyone has the same idea of what is fun or funny. As an employer, make sure you know what activities are taking place in case anything inappropriate has been planned. Having an overview of what is going on is also important to make sure there is something for everyone and no one feels excluded.

For example, if alcohol is involved – perhaps a charity pub-style quiz – have soft drink options. Or if you are going for charity bacon sandwiches in the morning, ensure that vegetarians or people who do not eat pork for religious reasons are catered for.

Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.