When you find the right cause, most businesses and their employees are happy to get on board with donating money to that cause. Simply going around and asking for money doesn't keep the employees invested in the chosen charity, but using creative and engaging fundraising ideas helps make giving enjoyable. Ask if your company offers matching gifts for charities in which their employees are involved to double the funds you raise.
A personal connection matters; for example, an employee who is a breast cancer survivor might share her story and encourage staff to give to a cancer research organization. If none of the employees has a preference for a charity, look for one that connects to the company's business. A real estate company might raise money for a homeless shelter or a charity that builds houses for people who normally couldn't afford one.
Some of the best fundraisers are those that are ongoing and become a staple of the workplace. If employees want to dress down on Fridays, for example, it might cost them a small donation, such as $5. Shake this up a bit by offering jeans for $5 and jerseys or other team sports gear for $10. Another idea is to have a box where employees make donations for bad behavior such as swearing, being late to meetings, forgetting to silence their cellphones or missing deadlines. Although the fine box should be voluntary, most employees participate when it's the norm and part of the corporate atmosphere. This type of fundraiser might not raise much in one week, but over the course of a year, donations could be substantial.
Events help raise awareness outside the workplace while raising money. Your company can host the event, inviting vendors, customers and other business associates to attend. Keep it casual with an event such as an outdoor chili cook-off with celebrity judges and live music, or lean more toward the sophisticated side with wine tastings, black-tie dinners and cocktail parties. Both types of events work well when paired with live and silent auctions of donated items such as gift baskets, artwork, jewelry and time at vacation homes.
When planning an event isn't possible, plan several smaller, one-time fundraisers throughout the year to keep the charity in the minds of the employees. For example, plan a covered-dish lunch where employees bring favorite dishes and donate the amount they would typically spend going out to lunch. Make even more money by creating a cookbook of all the dishes served and selling it to the employees; offering it in email format means the charity gets 100 percent of the money raised. Hold raffles for different prizes such as the best parking spot in the lot, a free day off or the option to sleep in and come in late every day for a week. Another idea is to tie the fundraiser in with major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or March Madness. Employees may put money in to participate and guess which teams will win. The employees with the correct guesses get their names in a hat; the name drawn gets 50 percent of the money collected and the charity gets the other half.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.