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3 ways to honor Memorial Day through corporate philanthropy

May 04, 2021
Two Pacific Islander business men meeting outside an office building to discuss honoring Memorial Day with corporate philanthropy.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. President Harry S. Truman remarked on the meaning of Memorial Day, saying “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” 

Originating during the Civil War, Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971. While businesses across the nation are closed to give their employees a three-day weekend to start the summer, you can still observe and incorporate this day into your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.

In this guide, we’ll explore some quick and easy ways to rally your workforce behind the true meaning of Memorial Day, beyond celebrating with barbecues and boating. Check out these three ways to turn your everyday corporate philanthropy programs into ones that honor our heroes.

Matching gifts

Start an employee giving campaign leading up to Memorial Day to encourage employees to give back to wonderful causes that honor those who died while serving and supporting their families. When your business implements a matching gift program, you can match your employees’ gifts to nonprofits and double their impact. A little healthy competition between teams or other departments can help boost participation and help your organization make an even bigger impact.

As Memorial Day gets closer, bring attention to charities built around supporting our fallen troops. The Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, for example, has provided assistance to over 2,800 students throughout their undergraduate studies. These are students who lost a parent who was an active service person in the military within the last 35 years.

This organization reports compelling statistics that highlight the need for their work:

  • Over the past 35 years, the troops who fell while serving the U.S. military have left behind 25,000 dependents.
  • These surviving families often struggle to make ends meet, and over half of these households make under $50,000 each year.
  • Since 2002, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has provided over 65 million dollars in scholarships and other forms of assistance.

Your CSR efforts can help support this cause and similar organizations, especially when you double your company’s impact with a matching gift program.

Company-wide day of service

The Friday before Memorial Day weekend is the perfect day to get your team out of the office to do something good for the community! Company-wide days of service are one of the most successful volunteer programs most companies have. Use these days to boost support and leverage Millennials’ motivation for volunteering demonstrated in these statistics:

To organize a day of service, find a local Veteran’s Affairs (VA) hospital, homeless shelter, United Service Organizations (USO) center, or another venue veterans may benefit from. Then, rally a group of employees together to partner with the organization and help make a difference by volunteering.

In-office event

Aside from gift-matching and volunteering, fundraising events to benefit servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives or your local veterans is a great way to honor Memorial Day. Check out a few of these ideas you can put together without investing significant amounts of time and effort:

  • Raffle
  • T-Shirt drive
  • Food drive
  • Memorial flower donations for gravesites

Remember, Memorial Day is all about honoring those who have served our country and have gone before us. Make an incredible impact this Memorial Day with one of these ideas that you can easily incorporate into your existing CSR program.

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