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Posting flyers at the office

Written by on August 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

Fundraising in the workplace can be hard. When I started in my current office five years ago, every posteri or email soliciting donations from co-workers had to be approved by human resources. Given such stringent requirements, not much fundraising happened at work.

The economy is different now, and benefits are fewer, so HR has relaxed its rules on what we can get away with. It's no longer uncommon to see flyers stuck to the break room refrigerators, advertising an employee's favorite cause. I had some luck getting in on that action last year, so I decided to put up my own poster again.

Printing my solicitation letter wouldn't do, though. When someone is sitting at a computer or at their home office, they have time to read an email or postal letter that was addressed specifically to them. By contrast, someone passing through a kitchen area at work is not likely to slow down to absorb a full page of text.

I thought I might be challenged (no pun intended) to create something simpler, as I recently finished a master's degree in publishing, but without taking the one course that would've addressed my weakness: design. Fortunately, the Macintosh program Pages, part of Apple's iWork suite, had plenty of templates for me to choose from.

Apple iWork Pages template chooser

Apple's iWork offers many predesigned templates to help you create a poster.

Of course, most people will use Microsoft Word, but it too has a "Project Gallery" with both flyers and event posters to choose from.

In Pages, I chose to make a "Sports Event Poster Small" that would print on a standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. I changed the headline, all the filler text, the year, and the contact info (using a link shortener), then dragged and dropped in some photos — one of me at a National MS Society event, the other of the reason I participate in the MS Challenge Walk. Bam! Done:

Ken Gagne's workplace flyer

It took me about two minutes to make this poster!

As I discovered, creating an attractive flyer or poster for the workplace is easy — and, if your employer allows it, it can be lucrative, since you know your target audience is the gainfully employed. If you give them the opportunity, what's their excuse NOT to give?

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

Ideas for workplace fundraising

Written by on February 16, 2011 at 11:39 am

For those who read my first blog post on the subject, you'll know that I am trying to uncover a little information and guidance about how to solicit donations from colleagues at my new job.

While every work culture is different, I plan to selectively solicit new professional colleagues with whom I have already developed a bond. I'm not gearing up to email the entire department asking for money. They work in fundraising already, and at least half of the recipients wouldn't know me from a hole in the wall. But I'll create a list of 15–25 employees with whom I can correspond with confidence that they will donate. My stretch goal then will be to have others hear about what I'm doing at the MS Challenge Walk and want to donate because they have been touched in some way by MS.

As part of my research, I have uncovered several resources. I don't know if these are practical for me in the first year of my new work, but they are great ideas that I wish to share. There are some really cool workplace party ideas here that could easily be a fundraising. eHow provides some basic charity fundraising ideas for the workplace. There is good money to be made with ten fun and great fundraising ideas for your workplace. And if that's not enough, here are one hundred fundraising ideas at work.

Could you envision your workplace doing any of these? If so, start making them happen!

Todd, formerly the Director of Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is now the the Regional Director of FAS Capital Giving at Harvard University. In addition to reading his blog posts, you can also find Todd on Twitter.

Fundraising at a new job?

Written by on January 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm

As you may know, I am in a new professional capacity this year and as such am learning the currents around my new office environment at the Harvard College Fund. This change also means that I will be able to return to walking again at the MS Challenge Walk in September with my family's team, Krohne's Buzzards!

One of my fundraising goals this year is to solicit my new colleagues for financial support for the Challenge Walk. But I don't know quite how to do that yet. There are so many new (and unforeseen) turns in a new job, but also I know that there are a ton of generous and supportive people at Harvard. How/what/when/where can or can't I ask them to contribute?

As the year goes along, I hope to uncover many of these answers and will keep you posted. Maybe it will help as you fundraise "around the water cooler". In the meantime, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please don't hesitate to share.

Todd, formerly the Director of Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is now the the Regional Director of FAS Capital Giving at Harvard University. In addition to reading his blog posts, you can also find Todd on Twitter.

Raffle your vacation days to raise funds

Written by on June 19, 2009 at 10:18 am

It's summertime, when you and your co-workers have vacations. Why not do both them and yourself a favor by extending their trip, in the name of MS Challenge Walk fundraising? It's easy — just raffle off one of your vacation days! If you don't mind giving up a paid day off, you may be able to transfer it to a co-worker. Of course, to be eligible, they need to buy raffle tickets in support of the NMSS.

Before you start soliciting your co-workers, be sure to get permission at your workplace. A suggestion: start just one rung up from your position in the company hierarchy. If your supervisor doesn't approve the idea, keep moving up, or talk to your human resources director. This is a better approach than starting at the top, because then if you get a no, there's nowhere left to go!

Once you have approval, you can start selling raffle tickets to your co-workers. After a week or so, have a public drawing by placing all the sold tickets into a hat or fishbowl and drawing one winner. Inform your supervisor (or HR) to allocate one of your paid days off to the holder of the winning ticket.

This is a great fundraiser because it shows creative thinking and requires almost no physical resources, yet the prize is something everyone wants. Good luck!

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.