Workplace Fundraising Events

Shalie Reich
Shalie Reich

Table of Contents

Are you looking for a way to bring excitement, teamwork, and meaning to your employees? Consider a fundraising event at your company or involving the community. Workplace fundraising events can be time-consuming, but the reward is well worth the work. Read on for tips to ensure your event runs smoothly.

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What Are Workplace Fundraising Events?

A workplace fundraising event is designed to bring support and awareness to your organization’s mission by coming together to support a common good. Most events can be turned into fundraising events, as you will learn through this article, but the goal of the event is to raise money for a cause that your organization has chosen to stand behind and encourage your employees to participate in the process. Let’s look at a few examples of some organizations and the charities they choose to support through fundraising events.

  • Chili’s Restaurant. Every year they sponsor St. Jude’s by their “create a pepper program” or their 5k’s, but either way, if you go into a Chili’s during their month of St. Jude’s,” you’ll notice the organization’s heart to give back to this charity. They started the fundraiser in 2007 and have since pledged 30 million dollars to the cause. Chili’s has found an organization that is important to their organization and is not afraid to share that with the world through fundraising.
  • Amazon. The list of charities from this organization goes on and on, but they have chosen to focus on causes from STEM education, homelessness, hunger, disaster relief, youth organizations, and sustainability. They help these charities through the AmazonSmile side of their website, and have truly found a way as an organization to give back to the masses.
  • Target. Target is not shy about showing where they donate and why. They prioritize community, and the charities they donate to reflect that core principle. They donate to organizations like Feeding America and The Great Giftogether, charities that echo their desire to help through communities.

Why Are Workplace Fundraising Events Important?

You should view these events as a valuable engagement tool for your organization to unite your employees while lending a hand to a good cause at the same time. Let’s review the importance of these events a bit more in-depth.

  • Give back. Hosting a fundraising event is a wonderful opportunity to give back to your community. Your organization will not only be supporting a wonderful cause but giving those in the community the opportunity to do so. Build brand awareness, boost reputation, and come together to do good: a win/win.
  • Encourage kindness. When you give employees the opportunity and support from your organization to help those in need, you’re creating an attitude of kindness that surely will be echoed in the workplace.
  • Foster positive culture. Events that allow employees to bond outside of the office provide a social connection as they work together towards a common goal. The fulfillment you’ll create from these workplace fundraising events will translate over into their workplace culture and teamwork.
  • Increase awareness of corporate values. What better way to practice what you preach as an organization?  Proving to your employees that you support a good cause and all stand together is a great way to encourage employees to take note of your corporate values and support them long term.

Types of Workplace Fundraising Events

Let’s start with larger events and work our way down to the smaller ones as we go through a few types of events your organization could benefit from.

Golf Tournament

One major fundraising event, weather permitting, is a golf tournament. It’s a sure-fire way to bring out some heavy hitters, no pun intended, because golf is a great way to network and connect while raising money for your company’s cause of choice. It’s good to offer prizes every few holes, or perhaps a prize for a hole-in-one or the closest to it, in order to keep the game engaging along the way. You can set up employees strategically to encourage the golfers along with the tournament and to continually raise money through games or donations. A well-organized golf tournament can raise thousands for your cause and establish some great memories and connections along the way.

Race

A race of any kind is another option of a large-scale fundraising event proven to bring people together and support your cause. You can host a simple fun run to get the local community involved, or go grander and throw a major 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon to really bring out the dedicated runners. This fundraising event not only gets your employees out and moving (since employee participation is always encouraged); it also allows other supporters to pledge money and participate financially. You can offer baked goods for purchase as well as carnival games; all proceeds go to support the organizations’ selected cause. A fundraising race can be large-scale or small, but it’s a way to connect the community and employees to the objective of your organization.

Casual Day

More of an internal fundraiser but a fundraiser just the same is the office casual day. Should your workplace have some version of a dress code, consider letting loose and allowing your employees to donate $5-$10 towards your cause of choice in order to wear jeans for a day. This allows employees to exercise generosity in the workplace and feel a bit more comfortable at work. If your office is customer-facing, you can open a  dialogue with customers that could provide more opportunities for donations. What a fun way to shake up the office monotony while supporting a good cause.

Gift Wrapping

This type of fundraising event can be used as an internal or external event. You can set up a conference room for employees to donate their time wrapping gifts while those requesting the gifts to be wrapped donate to your cause. Similarly, you can take it a step further and request donations to be wrapped for your cause of choice. A few examples might be: toys to donate to children in need, holiday gift baskets, care packages for veterans, etc. There’s nothing too small, everything helps!

This activity breaks up the workday as your employees donate their lunch hour or breaks to help, and you’re involving the community. People love to give, especially around the holidays, so hosting an event like this is a great way to encourage the holiday spirit of giving while fostering teamwork in your employees.

Tips for Hosting a Workplace Fundraising Event

Now that we have seen some great workplace fundraising event ideas, let’s evaluate a few tips to set your organization up for success when hosting a fundraising event.

Tip 1: Set a Clear Goal and Purpose

What you are hoping to achieve is a key question to be asked before any workplace fundraising event. You’ll want to set a monetary goal for your employees and donors to strive to achieve together. Define your purpose, whether that be to raise the most money for the cause or to raise money and awareness. Be clear and concise so your supporters truly feel a part of the event.

Tip 2: Budget

Every good workplace fundraising event has to start with a clear budget. The cost of a large-scale in-person event will be drastically different than that of a smaller internal event, but a budget should be created all the same. You should include the cost per person for all aspects, such as food, swag, space rental, entertainment, staff, marketing materials, and anything else you will need to make the event a success. It’s always best practice to leave a little room in your budget for things you don’t expect;  you will be surprised how often you tap into that contingency budget when throwing a workplace fundraising event.

Tip 3: Leadership Team

Select a host committee for the specific fundraiser—or perhaps your organization already has a fundraising committee in place. Either way, recruit people who can give a substantial amount of time to the event. Be sure your leadership is selected wisely, with both internal and external support depending on the size of your event. The host committee helps with all aspects of the fundraiser, including marketing and follow-up, so be sure to communicate that to your volunteers.

Tip 4: Volunteer Team

Secure a solid volunteer team that can support your leadership team as they plan the event. These people can be employees, but also members of the community who want to come out to support the cause. Ensure each member of the team has a clear understanding of his or her role and the dates, times, and locations that require their assistance. A smooth event is directly related to how well your volunteer team can work together and execute their tasks.

Tip 5: Marketing

Having the right marketing can make or break an event. If it’s an internal event and is not marketed with excitement to your employees, it could result in a lackluster involvement and engagement, resulting in less support for your cause and possibly diminished morale. Similarly, should the marketing not be done well for your external events, this could result in lack of attendees and lead to the same lack of support. Today, most successful fundraising events enlist the help of social media. Be sure to put the word out on all platforms your organization is part of and throughout the community.

Tip 6: Thank You’s

One of the most overlooked items of a workplace fundraising event is the “thank you,” yet it’s proven to be one of the most important. Most large-scale contributors will not be repeat donors without some form of appreciation going their way post-event. Make sure your organization takes the time to send thank you cards to those involved—volunteers, employees, companies, and donors alike—to keep them supporting your cause for many years to come. You could take it a step further and add a special shout-out to individuals or groups on your website or company newsletter: anything that will show your donors how much you truly appreciate them is a great place to keep the relationship strong.

Tip 7: Evaluate

Now that your fundraiser and thank yous are complete and administered, it’s time to use that momentum to push you forward. Take what you learned from this fundraiser and see what you liked or didn’t like; make notes and set yourself up for success for future fundraising events. Is this fundraiser something to bring back annually, or should you try something else next time? Keep building on what you’ve learned and take the time to evaluate how you can continually benefit your charity of choice, your community, and your organization all through the workplace fundraising events.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Workplace Fundraising Events

What is challenging about holding a workplace fundraising event?
Planning and organizing can be the biggest challenge to holding a workplace fundraising event. Most organizations focus strictly on the day-to-day work that needs to be done and some cannot imagine allowing time for something other than that such as fundraising events.
Should it be mandatory that all employees participate in workplace fundraising events?
Not at all. Allow your employees the freedom to attend and participate in the festivities or not; it should not be required.
How much money do workplace fundraising events generally raise?
It truly depends on the organization and the size of the event. A large organization can raise thousands of dollars just with a “casual Friday” pass for $10 per employee, while a smaller organization may not benefit as much from this.
Shalie Reich
Shalie Reich

Shalie has over 4 years of experience working in a variety of HR positions and organizations including: working as an HR department “of one”, working with a start-up based in Europe, to working in a fully established robust USA based HR department. Shalie has experience in multiple states and countries with all aspects of the HR spectrum. She has a passion to share her knowledge and experience to benefit the HR profession!

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