Every company should have a portion of their mission that's dedicated to giving back. Here at ej4, once a year we bring out our Christmas spirit a little earlier than most people and host a "Christmas in July" fundraiser and donation drive for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). We strive to be "Everything but Ordinary," so hosting a holiday-themed fundraiser in the middle of summer fits right in with our company's mission of delivering the unexpected. It also helps any charity experiencing a summertime donation lag.
Hosting a fundraising event for a local charity doesn't just help us give back to our community, it builds a sense of camaraderie and competition between our two offices in St. Louis and Kansas City. We incorporated some friendly competition and team building into our fundraising this year and the results were astounding. We raised over 15,000 items for RMHC and had a fun time doing it.
We encourage other companies to steal our idea! Just follow these tips.
Step 1: Choose the Charity
ej4 has offices in St. Louis in Kansas City, so we wanted to pick an organization that had locations in both places. We also have several employees that have taken advantage of RMHC when they had young children in the hospital, so it made sense both from a personal and geographic perspective.
It's also important to communicate with your selected charity before you announce the fundraiser to your employees. Here are a few examples of the coordination that needs to happen:
- Can they provide a donation wish list?
- Can they accommodate a large donation of items?
- Does the drop of date work for them?
- Are you allowed to use their company name and logo when promoting this on your company's social channels?
Step 2: Create Teams of Employees
Back in June, we had just finished a team building exercise at our all-employee meeting. We created teams by mixing employees from different offices and departments. We used those same teams for the fundraiser and it was a huge success. Nothing gets people motivated like creating a competition! We created a point system for donated items. For every item donated, a team would receive a certain amount of points. We kept track of these in a shared Google Doc so everyone could track their team's progress.
Step 3: Announce the Fundraiser
We announced the start of the fundraiser just before the start of July and began accepting donations on July 1. We shared the wish list that Ronald McDonald House had provided so people would know which items to donate. We also promoted a press release to encourage other companies to do the same.
Step 4: Let the Games Begin
What we didn't expect was for the teams to brainstorm among themselves to come up with clever ways to raise money. Teams hosted taco bars, bake sales, daily raffle drawings, trivia challenges, shuffleboard tournaments and many more fundraisers (emphasis on fun!). Teams would take the money they raised from these events to buy items to donate. I was so proud of our employees for their passion and creativity throughout the month. My favorite event was the bake sale that one team hosted. They took a cart of baked goods to every office in our building.
Step 5: Promoting your Initiative on Social Media
Social media was a convenient way to spread the word about Christmas in July. Some of our employees used Facebook to host fundraisers, which raised over $1500 in cash donations for Ronald McDonald House. This was especially useful for getting friends and family outside of the company involved. You'd be surprised by how many people are willing to donate a few dollars to a worthy cause. Social media was also a good outlet for sharing out company personality. Check out our photo album with raffle winners, office decorations, and more!
Step 6: Coordinate Delivery
You will need to figure out a plan to get all your donation items to their destination. Some things you may need to coordinate include...
- How many people will you need?
- How many cars do you need?
- Confirm the drop off day with your charity.
We highly encourage other companies to steal this great idea. Following these steps helped us create a fun and successful fundraising event for Christmas in July. Follow these steps and you can do the same!