Five Charitable Gift Ideas to Replace the Old-Fashioned Holiday Bonus

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While only a third of Canadians now expect a holiday bonus, many businesses might be surprised to learn that their workforce is expecting more than a little extra spending cash this festive season.

Almost two-thirds (59%) of Canadians said they would prefer to receive “a charitable gift that would help someone else, rather than a traditional gift,” according to a recent Ipsos Reid study. This is consistent with a 2016 study that showed nearly two-thirds of millennials were more likely to want to work for a company that gave to charity than one did that not.

For employees, it is indeed better to give than receive. So, to capitalize on millennial’s interest in giving back, many Canadian businesses are replacing the old-fashioned Christmas bonus with charitable gifts that bring a new sense of purpose to holiday giving.

Here are five ways your company can boost employee engagement this holiday season:

1. Charity Gift Cards

Companies large and small are using . While it can be borderline impossible to find thoughtful gifts for each staff member, by using CanadaHelps.org—Canada’s platform for donating and fundraising online—you’re guaranteed that each employee will choose a cause they’d like to donate to. As a business, you can purchase the gift cards online for any amount, choose a card design and add personalized messages for each employee (you can also buy Charity Gift Cards in bulk too). You receive a tax receipt and your employees receive a lovely card and note, enabling them to donate to the registered Canadian charity they care about most.

2. Tribute Gifts 

If there’s a certain cause that’s near and dear to an employee’s heart, a tribute gift can be the perfect holiday present. Perhaps one of your team member’s lost a loved one to a particular disease, or are passionate about an important issue such as . Either way, by giving to a charity in their honour, you’re showing that employee you recognize and support a cause that matters to them. For most people, this can be incredibly motivating.

3. Charitable Gift Guide

Donated in honour of someone to those in need, charitable gift ideas can be anything from physical items such as warm blankets, school supplies, or first-aid kits, to outcomes of donations such as the gift of a lifesaving medical treatment. Just five years ago, it was really only larger national charities benefiting from charitable gifts. However, businesses can now browse through hundreds of custom gift guides from small charities, ranging in value from $25 or less, $25 to $100, or up to $250 in value. After browsing through any number of great causes in this Charitable Gift Guide, it’s safe to say you’ll never again give your employees a gift card for free coffee.

4. Make it Monthly

Instead of only giving money around the holidays, businesses can show their employees they really care by making monthly donations year-round. Charities greatly prefer monthly-giving, as they enjoy a more predictable revenue stream that allows them to better plan and optimize their programs. More importantly, giving monthly will help your business get strategic with your giving by committing to the causes that are important to you, and carefully strategizing how much you give.

5. Holiday Fundraisers

Giving always feels good, but it feels even better when you commit to a cause. If your business supports a certain charity, consider turning your holiday office party into an opportunity to raise much-needed funds for a good cause. With CanadaHelps, you can create your own fundraiser in minutes, choosing one or more charities from a list of 86,000 registered charities.

Forget office potlucks and old-fashioned Christmas bonuses. By providing employees with the opportunity to give back, businesses can increase engagement and make a real impact in their community this holiday season.

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