Work really hard. Play really hard. It’s just what we do.
This past weekend, in typical TSheets fashion — and in honor of our 10th birthday — nearly 100 TSheets employees (and their families) braved the rainiest weather we’ve had all spring for the first annual TSheets 5k benefiting the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) — a program intended to help women, children, and yes, even men, recover from domestic abuse or sexual assault.
It was our goal to not only have an amazing time at the 5k (and eat a lot of tacos afterwards), but to raise $1,000 for the WCA — enough to fund one month of children’s counseling.
And, in typical TSheets fashion, we totally blew that goal out of the water.
By the time our 5k had come to a finish, we had raised over $2,000 for the WCA and gathered a hefty pile of food, clothing, and bedding to go along with it.
How did we do it?
Well, it helped that we had some pretty awesome raffle prizes up for grabs (four tickets to the Boise Music Festival donated by 103.5 KISS FM, a cruiser bike courtesy of Reed Cycle, and a round-trip flight to McCall provided by our very own pilot and TSheets CEO, Matt Rissell … to name a few) — and we sold over 2,500 raffle tickets in the weeks before the 5k — but most of the event’s success (okay, all of it) can be contributed to our amazing 5k planning committee. For several months before the big day, they were busy planning out every miniscule detail and getting the entire team on board.
Their hard work paid off, big time, and if you want to host a successful fundraiser of your own — we’ve got a few tips.
1. Define the cause and set crystal clear goals.
Everyone should know exactly what the fundraiser is for, who will benefit, and what the goals are.
In our case, the 5k was in honor of the company’s 10th birthday — and we wanted to celebrate! — but we wanted to involve the WCA as well. Employees were encouraged to purchase raffle tickets, donate physical goods from the WCA’s wishlist, or simply make a cash donation. Our goal was to raise $1,000 for the WCA — and thanks to this handy list, we knew exactly what our donations would be used for.
- $10 helps to fund one hour of hotline support.
- $25 helps to fund one case management session.
- $50 helps to fund one two hour session of Financial Literacy Education.
- $100 helps to fund one night of lodging in our safe shelter.
- $500 helps to fund two weeks of court advocacy.
- $1,000 helps to fund one month of children’s counseling.
The committee did the legwork for us, and they did the math. “If each of us bought just 15 raffle tickets, we will easily reach our goal,” they said — making the goal seem attainable and easy to get behind.
2. Gather support and generate excitement.
If your employees aren’t excited about the event, it’s going to be a flop. It’s up to you to generate excitement! How?
We started by gathering some pretty cool raffle prizes and donations from local businesses here in Boise. All we had to do was reach out to a few different companies, tell them about our awesome event, and ask them if they would like to contribute. The majority of them said yes, and we were able to raffle off about 10 really awesome prize packs without spending a single cent.
And with prizes like a supplement-filled gym bag (courtesy of BodyBuilding.com) and beauty supplies-filled gift bags (courtesy of Beau Monde Spa) on the line, our employees couldn’t get their hands on those raffle tickets fast enough!
3. Form a committee — then plan, plan, and plan some more.
Our 5k wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if not for the dedication and hard work of our 5k planning committee. They spent hours upon hours walking, jogging, and running up and down the Boise Greenbelt, searching for the perfect route for our 5k (one that wouldn’t land us three miles away from the office — and one that wasn’t currently underwater thanks to the quickly rising Boise River). They planned ahead and set a date during which (almost) everyone was free. And they even created a backup plan in case it rained (which … it did).
Thanks to the 5k committee and their informative emails, more than 100 people showed up on Saturday (despite the rain) and had an amazing time for a great cause. The event went off without a hitch — and we’re pretty sure no one got lost on the greenbelt.
So, how do you form an event committee capable of such feats?
Start by gathering your team members. Send out an email asking for volunteers and set a time to meet and discuss the goals of the committee. Our committee was comprised of team members across all areas of the company (talk about a great way to encourage interdepartmental camaraderie!) — but they all had one thing in common, a serious passion for event planning.
Then, determine a meeting schedule. In most cases, it’s probably okay to meet on company time — but it might be good idea to meet over lunch or just after work (at least you’ll know everyone is free!). It might take a few meetings to determine the correct frequency.
Finally, organize your new committee by clearly defining who’s in charge of what. Committee members should walk away from each meeting with clear goals, clearly assigned tasks, and a good idea of who to turn to if they have questions. At the next meeting, ask for a progress report from each member to ensure everything’s running smoothly and on schedule!
Last, but not least …
4. HAVE FUN!
Once the cause has been defined, the goals have been set, the prizes have been collected, and the date has been set, don’t forget to kick back, relax, and have a great time. The key to a truly successful fundraising event is to make it fun.