I once worked for an organization where community service was at the core of every team meeting. We would meet, talk about our business and then participate in a community service project. With a small team, it was easy to plan. But for large, organization-wide events, this kind of activity is a bit more challenging because it’s more difficult to identify an event or organization that everyone supports, or an activity that everyone can participate in.

Getting employees involved in teamwork and serving the community are important building blocks to a strong corporate culture. However, companies often view team building as an internal matter, and community service as an external matter. One is compulsory, the other is elective. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these five tips from team-building expert Peter Honsberger for incorporating community service into your corporate culture.

Identify a cause. Is there a community organization or charity event that many of your employees already support? Can it accommodate a large number of volunteers? Find out which causes motivate your team and find a way to channel that passion in a unified effort.

Use people’s skills and talents. Do your team members have special abilities, such as the carpentry skills necessary for a Habitat for Humanity project that can help a community organization? People love to feel that their talents and skills are valued by their company. This is a unique way for your team members to take advantage of their existing skill sets and develop new ones.

Tie community into the company mission. At a recent event, one of our clients brought in a retired Marine to talk about teamwork and commitment. The Marine’s speech was part of a larger campaign to raise awareness about veterans’ issues, but teamwork and commitment were also principle values of the host company. The event was a powerful way to marry community causes with company goals.

Show the benefit. Who will benefit from your charitable teamwork? Put a face on the project— the family that will live in the house being built, the people who will eat the meal you’re preparing or the children who will benefit from your donation.

Share stories. Once the project is over and everyone is back in the office, show your team the fruits of their labor via photos, videos and stories. They can be inspirational, educational or even humorous. However you do it, the memories of the event help solidify your culture and sustain a spirit of teamwork.

Source: Pete Honsberger is the director of client services at CultureShoc. He helps companies tie team-building with community service.