While many companies have laid off thousands of employees, slashed the prices of their products and services, and spread messages of doom and gloom, a small army of committed young people at Paul Mitchell cosmetology schools across America are sending out a different message -- one of hope and prosperity. In the past six years, their annual fundraising campaigns have raised nearly $3.4 million for charity. In the first quarter of 2009, despite the prevailing economy, they raised an all-time high of almost $1 million.
Any Paul Mitchell School owner or director will tell you that the excitement of the annual fundraising campaign does a lot more than raise money; it has the added bonuses of improving attendance, sales, passion and creativity.
As a business leader or owner, your personal involvement in charitable activities lets your staff know that their presence at work each day does more than it says on their job description. They're also helping those in need, saving lives, and healing the planet. It's one thing when people can say, "I'm a [insert your job title here]." It's another when they can claim, "I'm also involved in changing and saving lives."
As the leader of your business, only you can be the loving and involved coach and cheerleader who communicates to your team their very valuable purpose. When you personally involve yourself in the fundraising efforts, you begin to give them pride and purpose for showing up every day, and their creativity skyrockets.
If you want to increase business, passion, and creativity in your company, follow these simple strategies for engaging your team and giving them more purpose when showing up each day:
1. Make sure the fundraising goal is clear. How much is your team going to raise? Does everyone know the goal and how you're going to get there?
2. Measure your progress toward your goal every day. Do you have a fun, effective way for counting and reporting every dollar? Make your "thermometer" visible for all to see, and update it every day.
3. Personally celebrate every fundraising victory. The celebration of victories needs to come directly from you, the company leader. You wouldn't send your babysitter in to kiss your children good night on your behalf, would you? Get out of your office and praise that staff member who baked cookies for the bake sale. Encourage your company's other leaders to celebrate with the team, too.
Whether you realize it or not, your team spends a lot of time watching you. You are their mentor. It's great when you ask and tell them to get involved in your fundraising campaign, but they must also see you actively involved. They will decide if it's cool or not, based on your involvement, plain and simple.
In a time when some statistics show that 75 percent of Americans are fearful of losing their jobs, let's all remember that the antidotes to fear are hope, action, and looking for opportunities. Yes, fundraising can require a lot of work, but it's good for your team, good for business, and it's a really nice thing to do. If you fully embrace your company's fundraising campaign, you and your entire team will fall even more in love with your business than ever.
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