Ok, so you have your charity nailed down, and you’re ready to begin collecting. Given the hours spent on the job, the workplace seems like a logical location to set up a charity drive, but what steps can one take to ensure a successful outcome?
Step 1 – Build a team.
Gather several co-workers who can assist you with the efforts. They should be people you know and trust to follow through on their commitments. Decide from day one who has what job. Put certain people in charge of e-mail blasts, others in charge of collections, etc. Select team captains if that makes it easier. Just make sure each individual is not only clear on what his/her job is, but that they also are willing to do it.
Step 2 – Create a goal.
Whether it’s a canned food drive or a donation collection for United Way, you should always have a goal in mind. This way everyone knows exactly what they are working toward. Decide how much time (days, weeks, etc.) you have to achieve the goal. Then divide that goal into mini-goals. By doing so, you will make the drive seem far less intimidating and increase your chances of achieving your overall goal.
Step 3 – Find clever ways to collect.
For a work environment that is mostly dressy, “Jeans Friday” would be a good proposal. Sell tickets in groups of four for $3, and the people who purchase the tickets will have the privilege of wearing jeans to work for the next four Fridays. Bake sales are another easy way to collect donations, as are raffles for vacation days. Even something as simple as cornhole tournaments can raise a ton of cash. All of these fund-raisers, of course, may need manager approval but are wonderful ways to not only collect money, but also get your team engaged.
Step 4 – Reach outside for help.
Asking any of your company’s affiliates and/or regular vendors for a donation toward your cause may prove to be rewarding. Even if they cannot donate actual cash or canned goods, many companies can donate items to be raffled, bringing us back to Step 3.
Step 5 – Publicize!
If your company has an internal newsletter, place an article in it. Create colorful flyers and tape them to walls in common areas. Go around to different departments and personally explain the purpose of your charity drive. Ask managers to mention it in their staff meetings or one-on-one’s. The more word of mouth you can get, the better.
Step 6 – Send weekly updates.
Keep your employees/co-workers informed. Let them know things such as how close you are to your goal, how many days are left to contribute and what prizes are still up for grabs. Putting a weekly bug in their ear may seem a bit annoying, but it is the best way to guarantee involvement.
Step 7 – Have fun!
This is perhaps the most important tip. If you’re not enjoying yourself and sending out a positive vibe, no one will take an interest in participating. Use the event as a team- building exercise, take suggestions from others, and try to market it as a fun and exciting event, not a plea for “mandatory” donations. You never know, with the right effort and the right attitude, it could just turn into an annual drive!