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Virtual Charity Team Building Activities for a Good Cause

01 January 2024 • 10 min read

Key Takeaways:

  • A culture of giving must be intentional and cultivated in order to have any benefit.
  • Dealer led Texas Hold’em poker tournaments create engagement while providing a simple mechanism to support a cause.
  • Virtual team building can go beyond simple icebreaker games and foster a real sense of community.
  • Companies that host charity events like poker tournaments meet social responsibility goals and employee engagement while doing good. it is win/win/win.

Creating a Culture of Giving Brings Joy

three images of happy people at work supporting charity causes.

Are you looking for a way to make your virtual charity team building activities more impactful?  To put some Fun in FUNDrasing?  Well look no further my friend.  We’re here to show you how virtual team building activities can become online charity events.  We will dig into all the fun and engaging ways to give back while working remotely and find out which games work best as online charity events for your employees.

How to Host Virtual Charity Team Building Activities

Team building and community involvement go back decades.  Many in person team building events centered around activities like building bicycles for needy kids, volunteering at a local food bank, or helping plant trees.  Today it can be challenging to have a direct impact on a worthy cause when employees are spread around the country or around the world. 

Virtual charity team building activities come in all shapes and sizes.  The key is to be creative.  We have all had to adapt to the new normal of remote work and there are tons of perks.  Personally, I have not worn pants in three years.   But there can be drawbacks.  People feel less connected, and companies must work harder to build a cohesive workforce.  Team building is a great way to do that and leveraging the power of play is a fantastic way to combine fun with giving back. Virtual charity team building activities need to be accessible to everyone. When choosing an online charity event for your remote team remember these three important points:

  • Make it accessible.  Games should be scheduled well in advance and be considerate of times zones and project deadlines to maximize attendance.
  • Make it affordable.  Asking employees for money should not be a burden.  Give them options to make small donations or opt out entirely.  The goal is to give, not to see who gave the most.  According to Catherine Pisco, Director of Goodness Solutions at Benevity, employees who are able to use payroll giving programs donate four times more on average.
  • Make it acceptable. Choose your charity wisely.  Avoid causes that are associated with religion, politics, or benefit a very small demographic.  Stick with well-established charities that everyone can get behind.

Before starting a charitable campaign ask your employees to nominate nonprofits or causes that they would like to support.  It will help you narrow down what is important to your team and you might even find a few you had not considered.

Three images of employees playing in a virtual charity team building activity.  A woman in an orange sweater, a man in a white shirt and denim and a laptop showing a charity poker tournament.

Why is Virtual Team Building a Good Thing?

If you have not done any team building before don’t worry.  It is not that hard and there is a huge upside.  Virtual team building, online team building, remote online activities, whatever you call it, the process is the same.  Bring everyone together via video chat and let them play a game instead of working.  That sounds simple on the surface, but taking part in play can have a significant impact on how coworkers relate to each other and to their managers.  For a deeper dive on the power of play check out our post on Team Building Activities for Leadership.

Virtual team building can be leveraged to benefit the community at large but it always starts with benefiting the community of employees who participate.  Studies show that companies that hold regular team building activities:

  • Have less turnover.  People stay where they feel valued and that reduces job hopping.
  • Have more effective team outcomes.  People who know each other well have better communication, better problem-solving skills, and are simply more productive as a result.
  • Have more experienced people.   Effective teams who stay together longer have more long-term experience in their individual positions. 

An early 2023 Gallup Poll showed that companies with a strong culture that included regular team building performed almost twice as well as their competitors.  While every company is unique, engaging in routine team building activities like virtual games, hybrid experiences, or other regularly scheduled non-work activities can help companies stay in business longer and make more money. 

How Do I Engage Employees Through Online Charity Events?

Now that you know why virtual team building is essential for keeping a remote staff happy and engaged you will need to start putting together your event.  To make the most of your efforts you may want to consider a longer campaign with several activities and options.  This way your entire outcome is not dependent on who shows up to one virtual charity activity.  The key is to get them involved before the first card is dealt in your charity poker tournament or question is asked in team trivia.  There are several ways to get employees to open up about what a certain charity means to them.

  • Make it personal. Ask for personal stories to include in companywide newsletters.  Perhaps an employee trains guide dogs or another volunteers at a food bank.
  • Make it profitable.  Match donations.  Set goals and let your team know that the company is stepping up to the plate as well.
  • Make it playtime. Associating your giving with a game lets people have fun too.  Setting aside time in the workday to play poker together shows that not only does the company value the donations it can help raise but it values the experience it brings to employees.

Your people are your greatest resource.  When you’re asking them to participate in a virtual charity team building activity, they will be your best guide on what nonprofits to seek out and to support.  The fun part about making your virtual team building activity into a charity team building event is that you can choose something unique and fun.  People are more willing to get out of their comfort zone with a game like Texas Hold’em poker when you are playing for a good cause.  Participants will give something new a chance with the added dynamic of it being an online charity poker tournament. 

three virtual poker tables in use for an online charity poker tournament

Virtual Charity Poker Tournaments: Combining Fun and Giving Back for Team Building

Okay Mr. Smarty Pants, you know what team building is and why we do it but what is the best virtual charity team building activity?  Texas Hold’em poker.  Yes, poker.  Gone are the days when poker was only played in the back rooms or basements.  Poker is mainstream and expected to grow by 12% in the next 6 years with women leading the way in many parts of the world.

Millions of people play for fun on their phones without ever setting foot in a casino or spending a dime.  Hoodies and sunglasses are no longer the uniform for poker players as celebrity endorsements and easy access to play-money sites take down cultural barriers.  The game is exciting, easy to learn, and offers a level playing field for everyone to enjoy.  Poker is perfect for online team building because:

  • It has a very low barrier to entry.  Almost anyone can learn to play in just a few minutes. 
  • Anyone can win.  Because there is a luck factor, you never know who will come out on top.  The new intern might take down the CEO. 
  • It reflects business concepts.  Poker and business overlap in so many ways. Leadership, strategy, and decision-making skills are part of the rhythm of the game.

Poker skills ARE business skills. There are so many ways that strategic thinking, emotional control, and other deep business concepts some into play. (See what I did there?) If you want to dig deeper into how poker can be used to teach business skills check out our post on Building Stronger Teams with Online Strategy Games.

an infographic showing 40% or the population supports chairtiable causes, 5 billion dollars is donated through workplace giving, 60% of the US makes regular charity donations and 33% of employees give to internal charity drives as part of virtual team building activities.

What are the Benefits of Online Charity Events for Corporate Social Responsibility and Team Building?

The majority of fully remote companies are in the tech industry and that can be one of the most difficult spaces to grow a business.  Adding social responsibility both internally and externally has to be a deliberate task in order to get results.  Sponsoring events and making donations to the community are a great way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty to the outside public but it works internally as well. A loyal employee base can boost a company from the inside.

In order to be successful in today’s competitive landscape corporations need their employees to buy in to the mission.  That old line about people working only hard enough to avoid getting fired and companies only paying enough to avoid people leaving is outdated and a recipe for disaster.  Creating a company culture that makes employees feel valued is key to ultimate business success. The key to building social responsibility internally comes through:

  • Creating an awareness campaign.  Hosting a series of games as part of an awareness campaign for a specific cause, or set of causes, will give you several opportunities to not only bring the team together but promote the companies commitment to giving.  Adding a charitable component to your quarterly or annual event improves the company image to its most valuable assets, its employees.    
  • Making programs personal.  We mentioned this before but when an employee feels they have an impact they are more likely to participate in an online charity event.  I recently heard on The Social Impact Show podcast that employees are five times more likely to participate when they feel like the cause is one that they can get behind.  That’s quite the ROI on giving.
  • Working from the inside.  Employee Resource Groups exist in many companies, and they generally have the inside track on what employees need and where they want to see a company go.  Use their guidance to create long term awareness campaigns that peak around the holidays or the annual company meeting.  This shows that the company is committed to a culture of giving all year.

Focusing on your own team members is part of an overall corporate culture of caring.  When companies demonstrate that they are willing to invest in their public persona AND their people they are set up for success. 

For your next Poker Team Building Event

What are the Best Virtual Charity Team Building Activities for Remote Teams?

We have already mentioned playing poker as our top choice.  It combines business skills and luck into an easy to learn game that anyone can play.  We have also told you to have a regular schedule of virtual team building games, so it makes sense to bring up a few more. 

Charity activities are probably best associated with games that an individual or small group can win.  This will allow them to direct the charitable donation to a cause of their choosing.  With a little planning just about any game can be part of a regular online team bonding schedule and even part of a charity campaign.

Here is our list of great virtual team building games that can be played by teams of any size. Some are good for a fun distraction before a meeting and others you will likely want to bring in a professional to run and make it the featured game of your entire charity awareness campaign.

Branding Battle Each participant or team has five minutes to come up with an exciting marketing campaign for mundane or boring common items.   Vote for the winners. 

Camera Off One person turns off their camera and must describe an object one word at a time.  The group must guess the object based on the description.  Fewest descriptive words wins.

Charades The classic “acting out” game works great as a remote team building activity.

Geoguesser Players are randomly placed somewhere in the world on Google street view and must figure out where they are based on their surroundings.  Excellent for remote workers in different parts of the world. 

Rock, Paper, Scissors – Tournament The rules are the same. The rock beats scissors, scissor beats paper, and paper beats the rock. Randomly select different remote employees to square off against each other and see who progresses through the bracket to victory.

Scattergories The classic category game has been a party staple since 1988 and is an easy virtual corporate team building activity for any size team. 

Bingo   Several online versions are available with or without hosts but hiring a pro means the game will move quickly.  For a more interesting game, create bingo cards with personal characteristics.  “Speaks more than one language,” “has a pet,” or “has traveled to more than 10 countries” to showcase a virtual coworker in the game.  

Casino Night A Las Vegas experience is a virtual team building activity because there is something for everyone.  Real dealers teach guests to play craps, blackjack, and roulette. Players can win chips and prizes.

Escape Rooms The popular in-person games make a great virtual activity for corporate teams.  Coworkers must solve a series of clues in order to escape in a set amount of time.

Jeopardy Play the classic answer-question game as a virtual team building activity.  This game is best done with a professional company because it is more fun with a real game show host to manage the questions and scoring.  Some vendors can customize the answers to reflect company specific messaging.

Office Olympics A professional host will curate the games based on your company’s industry and number of participants.  “Events” can take place in one meeting or over the course of several sessions.  A fun perk in this specific corporate team building activity is that participants earn medals for their finish order that can be mailed to them.

Trivia Players divide into teams and answer questions.  This can be done in-house or hosted.  We recommend hosted to make sure there are a wide variety of questions and topics. 

Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament Over 120 million people worldwide play poker so don’t underestimate your office mates.  This is a corporate team building activity that you should hire a vendor to conduct.  (I can recommend one.)  The computer runs the game while professional dealers teach everyone to play.  Poker is a great game for all sized groups because it can be used as a team building activity, networking event, and for customer rewards.  Play for prizes or bragging rights. 

In Conclusion:

I hope that I have shown you ways to make your virtual team building events more impactful. Taking some time to plan virtual charity team building activities like poker tournaments is worth the investment.  The team will be happier, the company will benefit, and the community at large will too.

Frequently Asked Questions about Virtual Charity Team Building Activities

Here are the top questions that come up when talking about online team building games. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

What is the best virtual charity team building activity?

Texas Hold’em Poker tournaments are our number one choice.  Poker is easy to learn.  The dealer teaches everyone how to play and makes sure they are always engaged.  The game reflects business concepts like decision making and strategy but is also very easy to learn.

How do you host an online charity event?

The first step is to select a charity to raise funds for.  Make sure it is mainstream and something everyone can support.  Then organize an easy way for employee to donate like through payroll giving.  And lastly, schedule a fun game like Texas Hold’em poker where everyone can play.

Can a company sponsor a charity as a team building activity?

Yes.  Companies can create awareness campaigns that last a few days, a quarter, or a full year.  Making giving part of the company culture adds to the quality of life for employees and makes a difference for the nonprofit.

For your next Poker Team Building Event

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Author

Pamela Laurie

Pamela’s event management experience dates back to 2005, but her game experience goes all the way back to her first job at age 12 as a Bridge Caddy. She earned her BA in Theater from the University of North Dakota and brought her acting talents and Midwest work ethic to Los Angeles in 2004. Her love of games, including poker, continued to grow, and she teamed up with West LA Poker in 2009. By 2018, she became a co-owner of the company and helped it transition through a full rebranding and expansion to The Poker People. Today, she is happily married and a mom to three beautiful kitties. Pamela works out of the Las Vegas office as the Director of Operations, overseeing the Event Managers and scheduling team. Pamela’s skill set ranges from event organization to graphic design to coding. Her attention to detail and integrity are hallmarks of her work ethic.

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