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The trouble with a ‘Sunshine Fund’

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in Office Management

Fran’s work group plans to start a “Sunshine Fund” to buy gifts for special occasions, such as birthdays, weddings and baby showers. Her co-worker, Dan, wants to post a list showing the dollar amount contributed by each employee, but Fran thinks that’s a horrible idea.

How can the team structure the fund so that people who can’t afford to contribute won’t feel obligated or embarrassed?

“Publicizing contribution levels would obviously be a huge mistake,” says workplace expert Marie McIntyre, “but let me go one step further. Despite your good intentions, I think you should ditch the whole idea.”

Here’s why:

  • It flies in the face of team spirit. If you already know some people can’t afford to participate, then the Sunshine Fund isn’t a true group activity.
  • Buying gifts shouldn’t seem part of the job requirement. Let close colleagues give gifts, if they’d like.
  • The occasion calls for a group celebration, not gifts. Put your focus on buying a group card or cake, rather than loot.
  • For an occasion that is truly gift-worthy, let everyone agree on an affordable purchase.

It is, after all, the thought that counts.

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