5 Companies That Are Putting the Holiday Spirit in Corporate Social Responsibility (and You Can, Too)

December is traditionally the time for companies to hand out year-end bonuses to their employees, whether it’s a free holiday turkey or a seven-figure hedge fund bounty. But more and more companies are finding that the holidays are a great time to give back to the community as well.  Depending on the implementation, Corporate Social Responsibility benefits a company’s community, employees, the environment and local, national, or global charities.  But companies’ philanthropic actions also have powerful effects on their relations with customers, partners and talented hires.  At all levels, people prefer to work with those who share their values, and the holidays is the time to walk the walk, giving-wise.

Here are five of the most inventive and effective approaches:

  1. HONORING OUR SERVICEMEN: DHL “OPERATION HOLIDAY CHEER– for eleven years, DHL has helped build a tradition by donating the use of their global shipping network to deliver decorated Christmas trees to US soldiers—many of whom are decorated as well—stationed overseas. Over the years, the company has sent thousands of trees, along with presents and family greetings of all kinds, to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain.
  2. CONNECTING TO THE COMMUNITY: SANTANDER BANK “IDEAS FOR GOOD” – Santander thinks global and acts local with their “Ideas for Good” campaign.  In branches around the world, the banking giant polls neighborhood customers for their favorite non-profit, with the winning cause receiving a $500 (or equivalent) donation from the branch.  The giving campaign benefits the community, while also helping Santander build local connections.
  3. LOOKING AFTER THE ENVIRONMENT: TELUS” GOOD DEEDS FOR WILD THINGS” – Canadian telecom Telus made a 5-year, $5 million commitment to protect Canadian wildlife. To encourage public participation and awareness, Telus set up a “Good Deeds for Wild Things” microsite that encourages Canadians to “shop wildly” to vote for which animals—caribou, salmon, lynx, owl, grizzly bears and others—receive support.
  4. HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY: INTEL “CODE FOR GOOD” – Chip giant Intel is bringing together developers and community or environmental projects to promote volunteerism among the coding community. As part of the program, Intel sponsors annual student Hackathons that throw teams of coders at social problems in marathon programming sessions. Winning  teams receive grants and frequently see their apps released to the public and benefiting real charities.
  5. CHARITY BEGINS IN-HOUSE: CELGENE “LIGHT THE NIGHT” WALKS Each year, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) sponsors walks to promote cancer awareness and research. As a leading developer and supplier of oncology drugs, Celgene is able to harness their employees’ passion for their patients’ wellbeing to field 86 teams for this year’s candlelit fundraisers, making them the charity’s number one biopharmaceutical partner.

Many companies have found that the holidays is the ideal time to kick off community support and Corporate Social Responsibility programs, because employees at all levels are attuned to the giving spirit.

To help you find an activity that matches your location, interests, and corporate profile, check out Causes at KidsThatDoGood.