How Charitable Giving Could Improve Medical Practice Morale

December 14, 2014

My medical practice donates to various organizations. Recently, I had an idea about how charitable giving could lead to a happier, more professional staff.

It’s that time of year when giving to charity comes to mind. The Salvation Army bell ringers are everywhere and the television is flooded with ads requesting financial help.

Our office gets many requests for donations throughout the year. Here are a few ways we deal with them:

We tend to pick our charities in alignment with our specialty of pediatrics. We regularly donate to our local middle schools and high schools for their sports teams and bands. This is a hidden gem because our logo gets prominently displayed on T-shirts and banners. Free advertising is always a plus. We also contribute to the Relay for Life every year, which supports general cancer research.

In the past, we have supported various causes such as the Williams Syndrome Foundation, cystic fibrosis and juvenile diabetes research organizations, and have even supported the local animal shelter when they had a 5K for people and their dogs to participate together (great idea for families).

Many years ago, we used to pick one of our less fortunate families as our “Christmas Family” and would donate clothing, toys and food to them. One year it was to a family whose house had burned down two weeks before Christmas. We haven’t done this recently, however.

One can even direct a donation to several organizations when buying a Suburu.

A week ago I read an editorial piece in The New York Times about an academic that had given a lecture at Brigham Young University and received a briefcase as a gift for his talk. It had the BYU logo on it and since he needed a new briefcase, he started using it. The interesting thing he noticed was that when he was carrying this briefcase in public, he started feeling responsible for upholding the tenets of the Mormons, even though he wasn’t one. (He felt very conspicuous when he drank coffee while carrying the briefcase.)

All this got me thinking about the power that a logo can have, especially for a well-respected organization or institution.

I am discussing with my partners about picking three or four charitable organizations early in the year, and getting patches with the logo of those organizations to place next to our office logo on staff members' office shirts.

If staff members wear a logo of one of our chosen charities on casual Friday, they will earn points toward the donation. The charity with the most points at the end of the year will receive the largest donation, with smaller donations to the others.

Not only would this encourage staff to wear our official shirts, hopefully the charitable logo will go a long way to improving behavior and morale, as staff may seek to live up to the ideals of the charity they represent.

How does your office or organization handle charitable giving? How do you decide which to give to and how much to donate? I look forward to hearing about how other practices approach their donations.

Happy Holidays!