A: This is a tough issue. What if you talked with the manager or HR person to see which of the charities are most critical for the firm to support? This might help you narrow it down.
The other thing to remember is that the dollar amount often is not important, but what is important is the 100 percent participation. So, if possible, you might be able to just give $1 to show that you contributed and the team still gets the 100 percent. While that may seem strange, sometimes outsiders measure a firm by the percent of employees who contribute, not the actual dollar amount. The firms that have higher percentage participations can sometimes get more money from outside agencies, etc., so there is some benefit to your firm. But, I would definitely see what you can learn from an HR person. Maybe the firm needs to also look at all the events it sponsors to see how to streamline them so it's not such a burden on employees, especially during tough financial times.
Russell is the vice dean and the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist and has more than 25 years of experience coaching executives and consulting on leadership and career management.