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How Fundraising for a Cause Transformed One Tech Company

Lisa Manfield September 19, 2014

Tech company Unbounce leads the way when it comes to optimizing marketing landing pages, but when the Vancouver company signed on to participate in TechPong, a sector-wide charitable ping pong match in support of Downtown Eastside charities, it had to add a new skill-set to its company’s in-house talent: fundraising.

To send a player to the TechPong tournament, Unbounce needed to raise a minimum of $1,000 using Chimp’s online fundraising tools. The challenge became an opportunity for Unbounce to raise money for a good cause, boost its company culture and have fun doing it.

“When we started working with Chimp, we really had no idea how our company was going to raise money,” said Sarah McCredie, sponsorship and PR manager. “We hadn't done any fundraising before and I wasn't sure how receptive our team would be.”

It didn’t take long for Unbounce staff to jump in wholeheartedly. McCredie and events strategist Stefanie Grieser worked in tandem to get the ball rolling and encourage creative thinking. “We needed to do a little handholding to get people into it, but once we got the hang of it, we were totally good,” McCredie said. “Tons of fun things have happened organically.”

Unbounce2

Office fundraisers have included kitchen cleanups, a lip-synching contest and vegetable "sales"

Staff initiatives have run the gamut — from productivity and athletic challenges to homemade products “sales,” to a Jimmy Fallon-style lip-synching contest. “Every time someone wants to do something, we find a way to Chimp it. Chimp is the new verb around the office.”

Unbounce’s customer success team, for example, upped their productivity by adding some fun and charitable challenges to their daily work routine. Every time the phone rang more than three times, or whenever a team member got caught “talking like a hipster,” team members would make a donation to their fundraising group.

“Every time someone wants to do something, we find a way to Chimp it. Chimp is the new verb around the office.”

In addition to securing their spot in the ping pong match and raising funds for the Downtown Eastside charities of their choice, Unbounce experienced an unexpected benefit from its fundraising efforts: a significant boost in corporate culture. “This was totally unexpected for me,” McCredie said. “I do a lot of tech events, and I didn’t expect the internal culture boost we’ve gotten from fundraising like this.”

Unbounce plans to continue fundraising well beyond TechPong, to build on the momentum the staff has created. “This is sustainable for us, and we don’t want to lose this momentum. After TechPong, we’ll do another fundraiser. People get it now.”

First Time Fundraising? Follow These 4 Tips

McCredie offers four tips for companies looking to integrate fundraising into their operations.

  1. Identify and empower a dedicated internal champion. “You need someone to get the company excited,” McCredie said, adding that she and her co-champion kicked off the first few fundraising groups and provided updates at every team meeting.
  2. Don’t recreate the wheel. “Look at what you’re already doing,” said McCredie. “We turned our monthly open house into a fundraising opportunity. And in our kitchen, if you leave your dishes, you Chimp $5.”
  3. Size doesn’t matter. “It doesn’t have to be big,” said McCredie. “Think of small things you can do. Use fundraising incentives to get the job done better or look at fun things that happen outside the day to day job. If you’re going to do it anyway, do it for a cause.”
  4. Put employee talents to work. “Use whatever skills you have,” said McCredie. “Find your talented people and put their talents to work, whether it’s baking, designing, etc.”

Find more easy and creative fundraising ideas for your workplace giving initiative, and learn about how to build corporate giving into your corporate culture.

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