Team Time ideas to close out 2023 with intention & Impact
At the end of every year, we make it our mission to help leaders and teams Make it Count. This year, our focus is different. It’s less about how to smash your goals and celebrate your milestones, and more about harnessing the power of community, human connection, and giving back.
With everything happening in the world, we want to create a space for directing your efforts toward community action and bringing a little peace. For a lot of teams (including our own), that means rethinking our holiday gatherings and exploring new ways to close out the year with intention and impact.
In this article, we share 6 ways your team can come together to do good in your communities.
1- Replace your end-of-year team outing with a social impact activity
A common misconception is it is the responsibility of management and HR staff alone to design and lead CSR initiatives. All staff should feel equally empowered to find ways to animate CSR programs or initiatives, and we think your end-of-year team time is a great opportunity to do this.
We suggest collaborating with your team to come up with an initiative that supports your organization’s CSR mission. Rather than opting for the usual team outing or end-of-year party, consider engaging in a beach clean-up, participating in a local charity event, or organizing a bake sale based on the cause your team or company supports. This might even inspire other teams in the organization to do the same and scale your organization’s impact.
2- Crowdsource and circulate a donation list
Each of us might have a different cause that aligns with our personal values or know someone who is directly affected by it. In the spirit of giving back, get to know what community initiatives and causes each team member is passionate about.
Organize a team time where everyone shares a cause they are passionate about, why it matters to them, and how to support it. Document the responses into a list of trusted organizations and initiatives to donate to and circulate it to your organization and networks. As humans, we are moved by stories and emotions; make it personal and include images or anecdotes of why each person relates to the cause they listed.
Find out if your company has a donation matching program and make sure to enroll in that.
3- Volunteer with your skills
Engaging in skills-based volunteering empowers every team member to expand the value they bring to the workplace and contribute to a broader societal impact. This form of volunteering not only offers beneficiaries valuable knowledge and insights but also equips them to leverage these resources for long-term, sustainable impact.
Skills-based volunteering can take many forms, your team may tutor at a local youth center, or if you are a remote team, you could run a training and upskilling program for a non-profit organization. Last year, our team Cosmic Centaurs had the great privilege of working with 40+ edSeed scholars to build their LinkedIn profiles as a channel to crowd-fund for their higher education. We hosted 7 training sessions over 6 weeks and helped several students reach their crowdfunding goals.
4- Outsource work to displaced talent
In a conflict-heavy region, displaced people make up a big part of our communities. According to UNHCR, it amounts to over 100 million forcibly displaced people worldwide.
If your company needs to outsource talent for a project, for example creatives for a marketing campaign, you should consider hiring refugees. Some organizations provide a pool of refugees looking for work opportunities.
JobsforSudan is an example of a recent initiative helping displaced Sudanese talent re-enter the job market through upskilling and job seeking support.
Oyster for Refugees facilitates hiring refugee talent compliantly from 35+ countries around the world. Their diversity recruitment platform helps you find pre-vetted candidates seeking jobs in tech or data.
You can also listen to our Centaur Stage episode with Edseed founder Rama Chakaki to learn of more organizations that allow you to hire and pay displaced talent. 5- Host a drive Non-monetary donations are an essential way of providing immediate relief, especially in the case of disasters and wars. They also promote a culture of sharing and sustainability (think cyclical economy).
Find an initiative that your team wants to support and see if they’re accepting non-monetary donations. Collect food, clothes, toys, books, or anything you no longer need that can be recycled and donated. Create time to come together as a team to repack the drive and distribute the goods collected. If you’re in the UAE, you can run a drive for Dar al Ber or Tarahum for Gaza. 6 - Design an Impact Challenge Remember the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Over 17 million people globally participated by dumping ice water on their heads and sharing videos on social media. This viral campaign raised $115 million in funds for treatment research, and you can do something similar for a cause that resonates with your team or organization. Select a cause and design a fun challenge to raise awareness and fundraise for a cause. Launch it on your company intranet, or social media platform and inspire others in your network to participate. 7- Set up a Fund Whether it's aiding local charities, supporting educational programs, or contributing to environmental conservation, a fund not only reflects the shared values of the team but also provides a tangible way to give back and leave a positive mark on the world. There are multiple crowdfunding platforms that allow individuals and organizations to raise funds for a wide range of causes.
At Cosmic Centaurs we partnered with Edseed in 2021 to create a fund to help women of all nationalities who currently live in Lebanon gain access to skills, learning opportunities, tools, resources, and support to (re)enter the workforce, with a focus on digital education and inclusion. We take care of fundraising and support edseed to upskill its beneficiaries and edseed manages all funding requests and disbursements. We’ve raised more than USD 10,000 and helped 13 students gain access to education and a brighter future.
What happens next?
Organize a reflection session with your team and retrospect on your impact project. What went well? What will you improve moving forward? It’s a great way to practice sharing feedback with one another and think of how you might scale or grow these initiatives.
Create ongoing rituals: If you and your team found value in these initiatives, we recommend making them part of your cadence. Design a ritual to continue the momentum and make giving back a regular team activity.
Our hope is that these ideas inspire you to make it count in a way that truly matters. If you do adopt any of the above activities, take a picture and email it to us at greetings@CosmicCentaurs.com. We’d love to see them come to life!