Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cause A Quarter

Cause A Quarter

Talking about causes and cause marketing is one thing; practicing it is another.

I'm sharing this blog post from Becky Rasmussen of our staff as she talks about Drake & Company's commitment to cause

Cause A Quarter
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

As an association management company, we spend nearly all of our time working on behalf of our nonprofit clients, serving their members, promoting their activities and broadening their reach.

But as a company, how often do we shift the focus to our local community, using our time and talents to serve others? That's exactly what Drake & Company set out to do this year.

Sure, we had participated in charitable activities before, occasionally volunteering as a group or collecting items for holiday toy drives. But our goal was to create a program to last the whole year through - one that would foster a spirit of giving within the workplace. We conducted a number of surveys and spent a lot of time discussing what that program might look like. (Want more details about the planning stages? Just drop me an e-mail at and I'll be happy to share.)

A couple of directives came out of the process:

•The DrakeCo team wasn't quite ready to commit to a single cause or organization. It was important to explore the needs and agencies within our community.

•We needed to provide different ways to give - some preferred to write a check, some preferred to volunteer, some wanted a combination of the two.

•Any company-wide effort needed to be optional - allowing team members the opportunity to participate as they wished without placing undue burden on individuals.
Keeping these in mind, we created the Cause A Quarter program. I'm still not in love with the name but it does accurately describe what we do. Each quarter, we select a new cause to support as a company. For example, this quarter it's Nurses for Newborns, a great organization helping infants and parents throughout Missouri. Once we select a cause and find out their needs, we develop a variety of ways that team members can get involved. Here are a few ideas to get started:

1.Create a bulletin board showcasing the Cause of the Quarter. Provide background information on the agency, its needs, future events and volunteer opportunities.

2.Place a container at the front desk and/or break room to collect spare change. Be sure to provide signage so that visitors know what you're collecting for.

3.Post the agency's "wish list" and encourage everyone to bring in items for donation.

4.Invite a representative of the agency to come speak at a staff meeting or brown-bag lunch.

5.Host "Casual for a Cause" days throughout the quarter, with team members paying a set amount to dress down.

6.Volunteer at the agency, whether as a company or in smaller groups.

7.Ask your CEO/CFO if the company would be willing to match employee contributions.

8.Challenge other companies in your area to participate.

9.Post info on your company website with a link to the Cause of the Quarter.

10.Host potluck lunches or bake sales - a way to bring employees together while raising money.

Have an idea to share? A cause that we might want to consider in the future? Let us know in the comments.

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