April is National Autism Awareness Month, a cause that hits home for a lot of InfoMart’s family and children. One of InfoMart’s employee engagement committees—I’M Giving—spearheaded our fundraising efforts last year, and for our final push for funds, we urged other companies to take the cause beyond April with the #SlimeBucketChallenge.
Are you a small to midsize business worried about managing a charity initiative? It doesn’t have to be a large investment of time or money. Read on to discover four fun, inexpensive ways to engage your team in a collective fundraising effort.
Cooking for a Cause
In our nearly 30 years fine-tuninga robust employee engagement program, InfoMart has discovered a surefire way to rally team enthusiasm: food. From holiday potlucks to healthy snacks following our daily fitness challenges, our celebrations often include eating. So, to jumpstart fundraising, have your employees take to their kitchens and whip up their best desserts.
This is particularly suitable for small and midsized businesses because it requires little in terms of execution. A couple of emails leading up to the event, a table in the break room, and a willing workforce is all you need. Employees are often happy to donate a few batches of baked goods, which alleviates the upfront cost to your organization. Keep the event simple by pricing everything at just $1 and set the sale up from 11 am to 3 pm to catch your team when they’re hungry.
Pro tip: Lots of people don’t carry cash. Circumvent that problem by signing up for a company Venmo or Cash App account.
1, 2, 3, 4… We Declare a Penny War
“Penny Wars” is an easy way to infuse some competition into your philanthropic efforts and spark employee engagement. It’s a customary fundraising technique at InfoMart, one that gets our employees out of their desks to keep an eye on their departments’ jars.
The rules are simple: assign each department a jar and set them up in a common area. Pennies count as positive points. Silver coins and dollars count as negative points. The goal is to have the highest score at the end of the two-week fundraising period. At InfoMart, the winning department earns a pizza party.
Pro tip: Set a definitive end time for the competition. It’s not uncommon for our employees to withhold their donations until right before the final bell and then “bomb” their rival’s jars with silver coins and bills at the last minute. Last year, IT took the competition when they filled their jar with pennies at 4:59 pm!
Fundraising Fun at a Carnival
Nothing spurs employee engagement like a company carnival, and the event can be customized to meet the needs of employers of all sizes—from a large corporation to a small or midsized company. Sell tickets for each of your activities and encourage your team to participate. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to get out of their desks for half an hour, and you’ll raise money to support your favorite cause.
The event can grow with your company. Just starting out? Invest in reusable games like cornhole and giant Jenga. Turn on some music and sell carnival-inspired foods—soft pretzels, popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream. Small-scale carnivals work just fine in a decently sized break room, but if you need more space, move it out into the parking lot.
Pro tip: You can reuse the games you buy for Friday “recess” in the summer. At 3 pmon Fridays during the nicer months, all of InfoMart heads outside for a 15-minute break to play some games and enjoy a summer snack. It’s a great start to a healthy employee engagement program!
Engage Your Team with a Challenge
Penny Wars taught I’M Giving that our employees love a challenge, and our executive team has never shied away from our employees’ enthusiasm. We’ve taken on the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Mannequin Challenge. We’ve set fundraising goals and then matched the total amount raised. Last April, our team went all out with the #SlimeBucketChallenge. Once you get your executives on board, it’s easy to implement:
- Set out buckets with your executive’s names. For added flare, InfoMart made foam cutouts of our Board’s faces to adorn the buckets.
- Sell raffle tickets to your staff
- Give your team a week to drop their tickets
- On the day of the event, draw a raffle ticket for each executive. If your ticket is drawn, you get to dump the slime on that executive!
Because we were raising money for Autism Awareness Month, we staged the area in blue (make sure it’s edible just in case— we used instant vanilla pudding, applesauce, food coloring, and cornstarch to thicken it as necessary). We brought the entire company out to the parking lot, set up a video camera, and our executives got messy for a good cause! To keep the fundraising going, we nominated other companies to take up the #SlimeBucketChallenge.
Pro tip: If you find that your employees shy away from donating because they don’t want your executives to know they want to slime them, set a fundraising goal instead. Tell your team if they raise $500, the entire Board of Directors will be slimed.
Join the Cause
Whether you’re a large corporation, a small business, or anywhere in between, your company can do their part to raise money and awareness for a good cause. Have other ideas for fundraising at the office? Share them with us on social!