Ideas and Inspiration: Fundraising at Work
Fundraising at Work
Why it’s essential to have a fundraising strategy for your workplace, and how to stage the most productive fundraising ideas at work.
There are more than a few reasons to do something good at work. Linda Novick O’Keefe is CEO of a non-profit organisation that teaches children about cooking healthy food, and has written that far from being a compliance issue, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become central to good business. (Can we cite source here? I couldn’t find the article to link to. There are so many businesses out there doing social good, or working with charities and partnerships to create mutual benefit, it’s hard not to be inspired. Check out some of our favourites here:
- Three Hands, who say, “We believe in creating business value and social value hand in hand.”
- BNP Paribas, which positions itself as “A committed and responsible bank,” aiming to end poverty, whilst protecting the environment. It may sound like a tall order, but reading their CSR statements has you believing they can do it.
- Weil, Gotshal and Manges, “committed to engaging as a responsible corporate citizen in the communities where we live and work.”
Fundraising at work – it’s Win:Win with your staff!
A major side effect of improving your company’s social responsibility is a much more engaged workforce. Charity events, pro-bono opportunities, and volunteering initiatives all help to improve commitment, and engender a team spirit throughout your organisation. So whether you choose a corporate partner, or a charity close to the hearts of your employees, your workplace fundraising can boost productivity as well as your standing in the community.
Try some of these suggestions to kick-start your fundraising at work:
- Payroll Giving [LINK TO ARTICLE?]
- Choose a charity of the year – get your workforce to vote each year for their favourite cause
- Recycling - link to other article
- The great office bake off
- A physical challenge – e.g. the four oarsmen. If you have a particular interest or amateur specialist activity, try turning it into a challenge for the whole team.
- A pet show - ask people to bring in their animals, and charge for entry. Make sure to have amusing trophies or prizes – best tail-wagger, fluffiest hairstyle, etc.
- Have an annual event such as a Summer Ball, where you focus the majority of your fundraising efforts.
- Battle of the Bands
- Buddy nights - invite people along to the cause that means the most to you so that they can experience it first hand – e.g. a sports club, a homeless shelter, giving blood, etc.
- Office lunchtime busking.
- Shave your head, shed some pounds, etc.
- Themed seasonal ideas – e.g. Christmas/Easter/Summer fête, etc.
- Customised wristbands
- Happy Hour at a local pub - ask them to donate 10% of their profits to a charity
- Bring and buy sales - books, CD’s, fashion, etc.
- Friday fun - karaoke, silent disco, wine and cheese evening, gala ball
- Jailbreak game – challenge someone to be locked in a room and see how much they can raising using just their phone
- When someone is about to go off on maternity leave - guess the baby name, or the birth date
- Company car wash if lots of people drive to work and there’s a team of people willing to go and wash cars in their lunch break/after work. You could ask the local primary school to come and get involved and donate to their projects.
- Skill swap - donate to be involved
- Spare change bucket – fill the bottle
- Friday tuck shop
- Dress down day
- Matched giving [LINK?]
- Charity birthdays - donate to someone's favourite charity instead of buying a card and cake
- Job swap/bring your child into work day/kids rule the office day
Easy to run with big returns:
- Packed lunch day – everyone brings in a lunch box to auction
- Sponsored cycle to work week
- Donate your pay for a day – give staff a reward for doing this
- Lunch and learn - pay to attend a talk given by a colleague on an area of expertise
- Baked breakfast: bring in breakfast items to sell - bacon butties, healthy breakfast muffins, croissants, smoothies, etc.
- Get crafty - it’s very likely that some people in your office have a creative streak, so why not ask them to make enough to sell at work?
- Swear/buzzword jar
Donations from employees don’t happen overnight.
Sometimes it can feel difficult to drum up enthusiasm amongst employees for a fundraising initiative, but don’t give up. Gaining buy-in for a charity initiative can take time, and it helps if your team feel connected to the cause they’re being asked to support. You could ask employees if there’s a cause they’d like to get behind, or spend some time demonstrating the aims of your chosen charity. It always helps to have a personal connection, so why not invite someone affected by the issues you’re fundraising for to give a talk over lunch, or at a special team meeting? Let them describe the problem, how the charity is helping to solve it, and how much money that takes. You could even organise a team trip to see the charity in action, so they can see real need, and what the results would be without regular donations.
Above all, be consistent in your choice of who to support. Think of every update, talk or meeting as an opportunity to cultivate on-going concern in your workforce for the issues addressed by the charity, and regular fundraising activity should gain a momentum of it’s own.
What causes does your organisation support? Share these ideas with your workforce, and let us know if you’ve come up with a knockout idea for your fundraising at work, so we can share it with our community.