Good Vibrations Dont go cancelling that summer party 2009: Weekend Typically

Good Vibrations Dont go cancelling that summer party

The long weekend in May is when people typically start to turn their thoughts to summer.

With the economic uncertainty, many companies are taking a hard look at their summer party plans. Three of my friends who work for separate companies have been told that the party was cancelled this year. Interestingly, one of these companies is actually in an industry that is doing well despite the economic slowdown and their decision to not have a summer party is due to the fact that management feels it will create the wrong impression when other industries are suffering and letting people go. In previous articles I have pointed out the benefit that social events can have on your team - from bringing people together to fostering morale by showing your appreciation for your people. However, with many organizational cutbacks in the news, this year may be a good idea to look at how you can facilitate a social event without appearing extravagant or unsympathetic. One way to bring your staff together, while giving back to your community, is to consider participating in a philanthropic event versus a strictly social event. Also, my experience volunteering for numerous employee social committees and charity committees has taught me that many people who don't participate in strictly social events will be the first ones to participate in charitable events. In one job, to raise money for charity, we asked for volunteers to put together some gift baskets and auctioned them off in a silent auction. It was overwhelming to see 100 per cent participation from staff in building the baskets and the bidding. Furthermore, the creativity in the baskets brought people from different divisions together as they bid against each other. The event was a phenomenal success, raising over $1,400 and forging relationships in the office through friendly competition. Before deciding what's best for your organization, it's a good idea to ask for input from employees in respect to the event and the charity. Although not everyone will be unanimous, if you provide your people with the opportunity to nominate and vote for some well-known philanthropic groups, employees will feel more engaged and more willing to help pull an event together. There are also many charitable events that your organization could register for as a team. Although the summer season is still officially more than a month away, it's a good idea for your organization to start making decisions about the summer party. With the media focus on bad news, considering how your organization can put its resources to work for others is a great way to build team spirit while building good vibrations by giving back to your community. The options to raise money are endless. Bottle drives, yard sales, themed-dinner parties, soccer-baseball tournaments, art shows - you name it, the ability to raise money for a worthwhile cause is limited only to you and your team's imagination.

Sara Ritchie has worked for the past 10 years in the finance industry in Saint John, Montreal and Toronto. She can be reached at


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