Corporate Holiday Events – Ways to Team Build and Give Back

Oct 20th, 2016


Did you know that workplace giving raises more than 4 billion dollars annually? Charitable giving through employers is not only an important infusion for non-profits, but can also be an important strategy for team building. Engaging employees through charitable initiatives boosts team morale, brings the team focus to a unified goal, and can even increase employee retention!

The holidays are a busy time of year for all of us at Fire Power Seminars. We have companies that invite us to holiday parties for team-building activities like board breaking, but in the past few years our Building Bikes, Empowering Children program has been extremely popular. Participants build bikes as teams, thinking they will be riding in a race against each other. The goal for each team is to build a bike in race-ready condition within a given time frame. In reality, each team is building a bike for a local child who has been chosen through an essay contest. For most children, this will be their very first bike!

Building Bikes, Empowering Children ticks all the boxes for benefits to the local community, the employer, and the employees participating. All of the participants walk out with a glow and a deep-seated satisfaction at having made a difference for a child. Instead of a catered lunch and half-hearted socializing, how about including an event that can become part of your corporate social responsibility initiatives AND gives back?

Build a Bike Event Fire Power Seminars Building the Bikes

Other Ways to Team Build and Give Back

Host a Toy Drive or Food Bank Collection – make it a friendly competition between departments with a reward for the employees that pull together and collect the most toys or food. Local food banks in particular are under a lot of pressure during the holiday season and winter months.

Arrange Volunteer Hours on Company Time – many employees are juggling work and busy family lives. The employer who offers volunteer opportunities on company time or as paid time off is a hero to the places that need help and to the employees. A study conducted by Cone Communications found that employees who are very involved in their company’s volunteer program are 28 percent more likely to be proud of their company’s values, as well as 36 percent more likely to feel a strong sense of company loyalty than those who are not involved. Gift employees with t-shirts promoting the company for when they volunteer.

Angel Tree Giving and Adopting Local Military Families – sadly, there is always an abundance of children and families in need. Angel Tree giving that benefits a local adopted family is a great way to give back and pull together your team. Our military families, with deployed service members or those who have been wounded, are another important focus. Some companies include the Angel Tree recipients and military families into a big holiday party with the employees who have donated.

Check out more ideas for Holiday Team Building


Ask your employees for feedback on what charities they would like to support. In a survey of companies who switched away from the traditional United Way only campaign to an expanded model with more charity choice, more than 79% of companies reported increased donor participation rates and 73% raised more money.

Keep your holiday giving local if possible. This enables you to engage in the community, builds bonds for the employees with local organizations, and helps non-profits that don’t have big national budgets.

Companies in a niche industry may want to choose an organization that is connected to their business, e.g. food companies may want to choose food-oriented nonprofits.

Non-profit organizations are counting on the boost in the fall and holiday season and many focus their primary fundraising efforts during this time of year. Companies can maximize their giving by focusing on donating time and money to their local community organizations. Local organizations, food banks, military service people and their families, and children’s services tend to receive less than some of the larger non-profits that also have larger marketing budgets. Companies can check out nonprofits that they would like to work with using Charity Navigator, which provides rankings based on efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

Make charitable giving an annual initiative rather than a holiday initiative. Choose different programs throughout the year. Employees want to work for companies that care. In fact, Cone Research found that 79% of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company and 79% of employees think it’s important that their companies match their charitable giving.

How can we make your holidays merry and bright AND help you give back this season?

To create an event that will change your team and those who need help, contact Karen at 954.232.4486 or

Karen Pfeffer
Karen is passionate about sharing powerful programs on communication, empowerment, team building and transformation. With a father from Kansas and a mother from Puerto Rico, Karen has a unique cultural mix that has inspired her to challenge stereotypes and “push the envelope” at every opportunity. She co-founded Fire Power Seminars with Connie Phelan in 2006 to empower individuals, organizations, and companies to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

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