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January 16, 2018 | 6 min read
Valentine’s Day is approaching! Now, you probably had one of two reactions: a squeal of delight, or a groan of exasperation.
And what causes this huge disparity in reactions? The “getting” expectation. We expect to be loved. And as a result, we expect to get flowers, chocolate, and fluffy pink teddy bears. When we do, we beam. When we don’t, we grimace.
But there’s a very, very simple way to warm EVERYONE’S heart this Valentines Day:
Stop looking forward to getting, and start looking forward to giving.
This world is bigger than just us as individuals. It’s huge! And it’s all too easy for people to forget and be forgotten.
So remember, charity doesn’t stop with the holidays. And now is a wonderful time to focus on the community. It’s cold outside, it’s depressing, and charitable giving usually drops off after December.
In addition, giving back will improve your office’s mood tremendously. It forces your team to extend their views past their computer monitors and think of the larger community in which they work.
Give — you’ll combat everyone’s winter blues.
So what can you, as an office, do to help?
Well, let us tell you! And believe us, it’s surprisingly easy to better your community.
You don’t even have to leave the office to make a difference to others. These 3 activities are low-key, easy to organize, and still make a big impact.
This is possibly the easiest way to make a difference. Everyone loves getting mail, and almost no one does anymore!
First, pick an organization to write to. We’ve included two of our favorites below, Cards for Hospitalized Kids and Letters for the Elderly. These are isolated populations going through hard times, and they’ll love hearing from you all!
Next, set up a postcard-writing station in your common room. You can go basic (cards & pens), or go crazy (glitter, puffy paint, stickers)! Have each employee take a half-hour break to write one, two, or even ten postcards.
Cards for Kids:
Hospitalization can be lonely and frightening, especially for children. Your office can brighten these kids’ moods. Be creative! Draw pictures, write stories, be creative! Your goal is to make a kid smile.
Letters for the Elderly:
Many senior citizens in nursing homes suffer from a lack of social contact. Improve their day by writing to them. Your office can even start corresponding regularly with them as pen pals!
Donate your warm, gently-used clothing to others in need.
It’s cold outside. Like, really cold.
Now imagine commuting to work without your big coat, scarf, hat, or boots.
Even colder, eh?
Ask your coworkers to dig through their closet and donate any warm clothes they don’t wear anymore. Coats, sweaters, galoshes, hats, gloves…anything warm will help!
Here’s a list of great organizations around the country who run clothing drives:
The Salvation Army: Donate to your local “Coats for Kids” drive.
One Warm Coat: Donate to a location near you and provide vital warmth for someone in need!
Warm Coats & Warm Hearts: The Burlington Coat Factory runs this drive — schedule an appointment for your office to donate en masse. As a bonus, you’ll each receive 10% off your next purchase for each coat donated.
Your employees’ donations can even be tax-deductible! Click here to learn more.
Public schools are almost always hard-up for funding. The average public school teacher spends nearly $600 of their own money on school supplies each year! By donating, you can ease their burden and get kids learning!
First, contact schools in your area and ask them what they need.
Everyone has office supplies they never use. There’s always a spiral notebook or two in the back of a drawer or a pack of pencils that have never been used. Ask your coworkers to bring in their excess supplies.
Additionally, you can ask your company to match employee donations. You’ll motivate employees to donate and get double the donations as well!
Ask a volunteer or two from the office to donate the supplies to the school! Even better, ask the school to take a selfie with the teachers & students. Then you can hang the photo in the office so everyone can appreciate what you’ve accomplished.
To help you in your planning, AARP provides a complete guide on how to set up a school supplies drive.
Organize a volunteer day outside the office! Off-site volunteer days take more planning but are a fantastic way to impact your community while promoting office team building. Here are two fantastic ways to help out:
Your office can work together for an afternoon at a food bank! You can take on any number of roles: serving food, repackaging donations, or even preparing meals. Contact one of your local food pantries to learn how best to help.
Time Magazine gives some great ideas for volunteer opportunities, including donating blood:
With fewer blood drives being held during the winter months, blood donations tend to drop this time of year. But the need for blood remains steady; donated blood has a shelf life of only 42 days. All blood types are wanted, especially type O or AB.
Let’s be honest: blood donation is incredibly important, and yet many people are uncomfortable donating. That’s fine! But don’t let it deter you from planning a donation day.
You can respect everyone’s feelings by posting a sign-up sheet in the office. Everyone who wants to donate can sign up, and then you can all travel together to donate blood one day after work.
Once you’ve all finishing donating, travel together to a bakery and replenish your blood sugar with some sweet treats!
Want more ideas?
These NYC-based organizations can help you plan office volunteer days:
NYC Service: they can connect you with opportunities such as mentoring, donation collection, and homelessness care.
New York Cares: NY Cares can create a customized volunteer plan for your office. This is great for an office committed to service!
Want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your office team? Do you like what you read? Get started by clicking “share” below!