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How many of us would like to give back to our communities but often use the phrase, “I just don’t have the time or resources”? Well, this is where I am hoping I can help. Corporations can give back or get involved in their communities easier than you may have thought. I would like to share some ideas and suggestions that Listen has come up with over the years.
Here are five simple steps to follow as you make your way through getting involved in corporate philanthropy.

  1. Choose an organization or cause to support.
  2. Find out what their needs are.
  3. Brainstorm and decide the best way you can meet their needs.
  4. Execute your plan of action.
  5. If you can’t hold an event, support those who do.

Choose an organization or cause to support: There are so many groups out there who are in need of your help. What kinds of organizations or causes does your company care about? This can be a great way to engage your employees in giving suggestions for organizations that need help. Consider asking your employees if they have one they recommend supporting. If there is a personal connection to the organization or cause you are supporting, the employees will have more passion and drive to participate.

At Listen, we have supported Kiva, the Utah Food Bank, The Road Home – temporary housing for those in need, the Speech and Hearing Department of a local school district, a local Boys and Girls club, and currently the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Find out what their needs are:
Many organizations are in need of specific items whether it is food, money, clothing, volunteers, etc. Visit their website or call to see what they need. Many times they will have a list you can download of what they need during certain times of the year.

Brainstorm and decide the best way you can meet their needs:
This is my favorite part in the process. Fundraising and collecting items doesn’t have to be boring or time consuming. Below are some ideas that I have come up with to make philanthropy fun!

  • Trick or Treat for the local food bank – have employees or departments compete to see who can collect the most food throughout the month of October. Most food banks are willing to provide flyers, bins and pick up of the food.
  • Winter Kits for the Local Shelters – have employees or departments compete to see who can collect items to put together kits of gloves, hats, hygiene products, etc. for a local shelter. Whether you can collect enough items for 2 people or for 50, the shelter will be appreciative for the items.
  • Bake Sale or Lunch – have employees donate baked goods or food items to provide a lunch for your company, neighbors, family and friends. Ask for a $5 donation per plate. This is great way to raise funds and doesn’t take a lot of time or preparation.
  • Host a Blood Drive – Many organizations that do blood drives will let you host a blood drive for free. Most will provide you with flyers and other resources to help the drive be a success. This is something you can do for little or no cost to your organization as well as takes very little time to plan and execute.
  • Participate in a Walk – find an organization that will be holding a walk in the area. These may include Multiple Sclerosis, Breast Cancer, The Walk4Hearing, and many more. Encourage employees to walk and raise funds. One way Listen is raising funds for their walk team is by holding a silent auction and carnival. This not only gives us a way to be involved, but we have involved many companies around the valley by having them donate their items or services for the auction.

Execute your plan of action:
After choosing the event or method decide on the time frame for your plan. Then you need to get the word out! These days it is so easy through using Social Media sites. Publicize your event or fundraiser through Facebook, Twitter and Linked In and your own website. So many people out there are willing to donate, you just have to ask.

If you can’t hold an event, support those who do:
I would like to personally invite you to step up and support those with hearing loss by attending our Walk4Hearing Open House on Thursday, September 30 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It includes free food, fun carnival games and a silent auction. All the proceeds will be going to The Hearing Loss Association of America.

You might also consider supporting a Walk4Hearing – these are held across the US. Or consider supporting the ListenTrek Team that is participating in the Walk4Hearing on October 9, 2010 in Salt Lake City.

It doesn’t matter how small or large your event is, or even how much you raise. What really matters is that your efforts and generosity will make a difference and improve the quality of life for someone in need.

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