Huling, Emily

Supporting charities through the workplace can have far-reaching benefits

For anyone with a heart, it’s impossible not be caught up in the year-end spirit of giving. We have endless opportunities to donate our time, talents and earnings to make a difference in others’ lives. Pulling together as an office to raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause promotes both good will and teamwork. The most popular outside-office activities are walkathons, community and road cleanup projects, and building homes. Here are some fund-raising ideas that will elevate the giving spirit during normal business hours.

Silent auction. Items are donated by employees for the auction. Employee-made arts and crafts, gift baskets, certificates donated by local businesses, and car detailing by a coworker are some auction item ideas. These items are placed in an area where they can be viewed for a time, usually two or three days. This gives people time to place their bids on the bid sheets located by each item. Suggested minimum bids should be set by the silent auction coordinator. At the end of the auction time, the auction winners are announced and money is collected.

Bake-off. Contestants bring in baked goods and employees pay to taste the goodies. Create different categories for cakes, cheesecakes, pies and cookies. Employees vote for the best in each category and prizes are awarded.

Penny war. The challenge is to raise money by having the highest positive number of pennies in a department penny-war box by the end of the day. Here are the rules: (1) Nicely wrapped opaque boxes with a coin slot in the top are placed in each department in the morning; (2) Employees put pennies in their department box; (3) Employees drop silver coins into other (opposing) department boxes; (4) The silver cancels out the pennies. For example, a dime cancels out 10 pennies and a quarter cancels 25 pennies. So, if you have a quarter and 25 pennies, your box total is zero. The department with the most positive pennies wins. Each member of the winning team wins a prize.

Crazy hat contest. Employees pay to enter the hat contest. Entrants make and wear a zany hat. During lunch hour, there is a hat parade and voting for the best hat. The winner wins a prize.

Win a day off. Sell raffle tickets to win a free vacation day. This is usually a big fund raiser!

Dress down day. Employees purchase a dress-down button to wear casual attire for a specified day. Appropriate attire follows office guidelines set for that day.

Hoops contest. In a safe place, erect a nerf ball basketball hoop. Schedule a time for an elimination shooting match. Associates make a donation to enter the match and the winner receives a prize.

Bowling for dollars. Employees sign up for an office bowling match. A few extra dollars are paid per person to raise funds for the office cause. The coordinator assigns teams. The winning team receives donated prizes. Consider expanding this event to include clients and vendors.

Mustache-shaving finale. A mustache-wearing man who is a good sport is necessary for this one. Typically, the office sets a monetary goal for the fund-raising week. If the office exceeds the goal by a certain percentage, this good sport will have agreed to shave his mustache with much fanfare in front of his colleagues. This can be a rousing end to an energizing week.

As for the prizes, some companies ask their vendors and suppliers to donate prizes for this occasion. Other businesses purchase company-logo specialty items to give to the winners Either way, award prizes that reflect the pride of the business or business relationships.

I want to thank my client, Carleer Hoffman, who was nice enough to share with me many of these fundraising ideas. Her enthusiasm and hard work as coordinator for her company’s fund-raising week was contagious. Her office raised more money than they thought possible.

Happy fun and fun(d) raising!

By Emily Ruling, CIC, CMC

The author

Emily Ruling, CIC, CMC, helps the insurance industry achieve excellence in customer service, sales, and leadership. Her newest book is Selling from the Inside: Creating a Front Line that Adds to Your Bottom Line. For information about her books, audios, and in-house programs call (888) 309-8802 or visit www. sellingstrategies. com.

Copyright Rough Notes Co., Inc. Nov 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved