Incentive Destinations: When It's Time to Give Back

Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan's PurseIt's important for all organizations to pause from time to time to thank the communities at home and abroad from which they draw their wealth. We are in a season of harvest, with U.S. Thanksgiving celebrations just weeks away and Christmas around the globe sooner after. It's an ideal season to give back and, fortunately, there are many organizations that make this easy. Today I'll look at three.

Samaritan's Purse. Giving back doesn't have to take a lot of time to be meaningful. Even if you don't have the budget to travel overseas, your group can still have a global impact. Every year, Samaritan's Purse operates Operation Christmas Child. They collect shoeboxes filled with supplies for children and deliver them to war torn or disaster areas. While donations and shoeboxes are collected all year, the National Collection Week is November 17 to 23, 2014. Churches and community centers throughout the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK, and Australia are acting as collection depots and shipping the shoe boxes to Samaritan's Purse in time to distribute for Christmas.

It's quick and easy to participate. Pick up shoe boxes from one of their collection centers, label each shoebox for a child (boy or girl, (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14) and fill them with personal hygiene items (e.g. soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb), school supplies (e.g. pen, notebook, ruler, eraser), and a couple of small toys. Put a personal note and $7 in each box.

Drop them off at a U.S. drop-off location, collection center in Canada, drop-off point in Australia or New Zealand,  or drop-off point in the UK.

Projects Abroad The next time your company or your client is planning a retreat or incentive trip abroad, they can make a valuable contribution to the community through Projects Abroad. For groups of 5 or more, they can create a tailor made volunteer opportunity in one of the over 3 dozen destinations in which they operate. Projects can include recycling initiatives, agricultural projects, sports, construction, and work with children and youth.

United PlanetThis community beyond borders seeks to promote respect and foster cross-cultural understanding. Their programs in over 40 countries focus on Global Health, Children and Education, and Environmental Sustainability. Volunteer opportunities consist of Short Term Quests (1 to 12 weeks) and Long Term Quests (6 months or a year). All quests involve cultural immersion, home-stays, excursions, and language lessons. Short-term quests can easily be completed in conjunction with an incentive trip. 

Depending on the destinations, prepare food for the homeless or low income families, organize food and clothing drives or work in day care centers, schools, elder care facilities, conservation areas, and wildlife preserves. These are but a few examples of the main quests available.

For more giving insights: Corporate Events: 5 Team Events to Feed the Hungry and Enhance Experiences and Energize Attendees by Giving Back.

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