10 Ideas for Community Service Team Building

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When corporate trainers are charged with building relationships among team members, it’s no surprise they turn to interactive team building exercises to get the job done. Cooperation vs. competition is the name of the game. Employees who trust one another naturally work better together. When work teams get along and morale is high, companies naturally become more productive and life at the office is easier. The challenge is to maintain the strong bonds and to retain good employees while attracting the best talent to join your ranks. Retaining and recruiting top talent gives organizations a leading edge.

Progressive companies know that building relationships among staff is only one step to strengthening the bonds that mark success. Serving the community speaks volumes to do today’s workers; those who seek to identify with a company that does good, and is not just focused on profits. Corporate events benefitting the community reinforce employee bonds as well as provide a meaningful connection to the community.

When employees are put in charge of the event, it empowers them and establishes a leadership role in the company’s overall efforts toward corporate social responsibility (CSR). Here are some ideas for successful events for corporate giving:

1. Bike Building

Bike building events for local kids in need is a popular event way many companies connect staff with the community. Popular at corporate meetings, the program may involve staff from satellite offices who convene at the city of company headquarters. Whether the meeting is to celebrate, train staff, or prepare for another successful year, companies show their appreciation for the local community by infusing a CSR event into the mix, such as bike building. The event gives a welcome reprieve for staff when they are separated into teams to assemble bikes to donate to local kids in need, who arrive after the program. The Boys & Girls Club, YMCA and other youth organizations often take part in the event.

2. Bionic Hands 3D Printing Program

Developments in 3-D printing have paved the way for new technologies in industries worldwide. In the healthcare field, creating prosthetic hands with 3D printing is far more cost effective and efficient than ever before. Corporate teams are signing up en masse to thousands of children worldwide who were born with missing, webbed or conjoined fingers. For the first time, these kids can experience a fully functional hand. Hand components are printed before the event and corporate teams are challenged to assemble them during a 3-4 hour period. Tools provided make the process easier. Hands are donated to hospitals and health organizations to distribute to kids in the U.S. and abroad.

3. Can Creations

Food banks everywhere are always in need of non-perishable donations. Hunger in America reports one in seven Americans relies on Food Banks. A study by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks, shows 25 percent of military families, comprising 620,000 households, need help putting food on the table. Many employees regularly donate can goods to food banks via their department or through school programs. Venture Up, a team building company with a wide range of CSR programs goes for volume when it comes to feeding America. The Can Creations program requires companies to donate thousands of cans, and involve entire departments of staff to create sculptures with the soon-to-be donated goods. The can sculptures often reflect the company’s mission to serve the community, or the agency directly feeding the poor. In any event, relationships are reinforced and the corporate-community connection is an ongoing project to eradicate hunger.

4. Sound Pipes

The best way for children to learn how to read is by hearing themselves read aloud. Children with soft voices and those with a wide range of learning difficulties find learning to read difficult. Sound Pipes, reading tubes made with PVC pipe, allow kids to hear their reading far more clearly in a noise-filled classroom. As part of an organizations CSR program, many companies are convening to assist school districts in helping kids learn to read faster. Groups of teams work at tables with PVC and tools to create and test the Sound Pipe design before donating to schools in the U.S. The tubes may also be shipped to overseas locations where the company has facilities to serve schools in cities and neighboring villages.

5. Fitness Events

From a 5K walk to golf outings, there are plenty of ways to work in teams and raise money for local community service organizations. Rather than knocking on doors to get individuals to support the team, the corporation bankrolls this fitness event. The teams are generally set up beforehand at the workplace, and each meet to comprise a strategy to be the best at the event. The company raises the stakes by offering the highest donations via the winning teams, and it doesn’t hurt to reward the teams back at the workplace or meeting with a special luncheon recognizing the group efforts. Leading teams have the edge where they may get a day off, or leave work early on Friday.  The sky is the limit.

6. Paint Fest

What takes two hours and can brighten a wall for years to come? The Paint Fest program is a team effort producing a collage of paintings uniting one image when all are placed on the wall. Teams use pre-drawn canvasses but are not restricted to coloring within the lines. They may innovate, add images, paint over, or recreate the design as long as the team members can agree.  Companies may also judge the entries and award money to the charity via the winning team. In any case, the finished masterpieces are donated to local hospitals or shelters.

7. Corporate Fundraisers

From silent auctions to sponsoring galas to working with community nonprofits, there are plenty of ways corporate events can help you give back to the community while growing together.

8. Building Projects

Building projects span the range in giving shelter and making a house a home. In the spirit of charities such as Habitat for Humanity or Re-Member (also supported by Amazon Smile), your team can assist in building shelter for families in need in your area. Smaller projects may involve assembling bunk beds or cribs to donate to local families, or projects to make homes more accessible to elderly or disabled locals, or offer repair services to make existing homes more livable.

9. Fighting Hunger

There are endless ways to fight hunger in local communities across the nation, aside from the large-scale Can Creations program above. Smaller companies may have ongoing can goods collections and monthly donations to food banks. Companies of any size can organize teams to periodically serve food at area shelters, either ongoing or for busy holiday feasts. Can good collections can be part of an inter-departmental strategy, whereby the most generous team is recognized and rewarded with special privileges or prizes – such as a departments own printer (that works!). Food drives are most successful if they are an ongoing part of a CSR program, not just for holidays. Although holidays bring great ideas for themed-incentives and creative ways to donate for the grand feast, whether at food banks, shelters, or community wide programs for homeless or people in need who may be passing through town.

Corporate CSR planning.
Corporate teams combine efforts for new CSR programs to serve the community.

Food and shelter cover our basic needs, but there are many things we can donate to make life easier for those in need. Along with perishable food, disposable diapers are in high demand among low-income families. Many homeless and women’s shelters get plenty of clothing donations, but many are in need of new underclothes, something donors must shop for, as opposed to finding while cleaning out a closet of unwanted clothing. Creative CSR programs can make a game of giving. Companies can allow knitting time for crafty employees to knit hats for newborns, or bankroll a spending spree to supply area women’ shelters with under garments and toiletries since many of them flee the house in times of danger, with kids and nothing else.

There is no end to the creative ways organizations can serve the community. When staff members get involved in the planning process, the creativity can get competitive and break way to ideas to build relationships and enrich the community.