In my latest attempt to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, I organized a second fund raising event with a local restaurant, this time my neighborhood Max & Erma’s. (You can find out how my first event went here.) As a reminder, here’s how the fund raiser works…the restaurant agrees to donate a percent of sales for the day to the charity (in this case, 20%) and all I have to do is make sure people show up.
This sounds easy–a sure-fire, slam dunk; however, let me tell you, it is not as easy as you may think. Especially when a big part of my master plan for success totally falls apart.
There are about 50 people in my office…and the restaurant is only about half a mile away from my office. Cha-ching! Knowing that my co-workers love food (biggest understatement ever), I thought this was basically easy money for my charity. I sent out an e-mail to the office and invited everyone to lunch and expected to walk in the restaurant with a huge group of hungry people.
And this would have worked perfectly. But then my plan got hit with a double whammy.
Whammy #1: Turns out that this day was also our CEO’s birthday and we had a group of employees in town for a training event. So last minute, there was a decision to offer free pizza…to the entire office.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Whammy #2: A few minutes before we were getting ready to leave, an e-mail goes out to the entire office….”Jimmy John’s just dropped off free subs in the break room–help yourself.”
Are you kidding me??? Come on, people!
In the end, my party of 50 ended up being a party of 8. What can I say? I’m good, but I’m not THAT good…competing with free pizza and free subs is next to impossible. However, I was so appreciative of the 7 co-workers who decided to still come out and eat for charity.
Luckily for me, I did have something else planned…
Question: What’s the one thing better than “eating for charity“?
Answer: DRINKING for charity!
I’m on the board for a young professional group in the area. Each month we have a few regular get-togethers, including a happy hour. As young professionals, Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization close to our hearts (more about this coming soon!), so the group was so supportive when I suggested we have our happy hour at Max & Erma’s during the fund raiser. After all, how often can you guzzle a beer and help kids at the same time?
I did have one other thing up my sleeve for this event. A week before the event, I decided to stop in at the Kohl’s store to see if they would be able to help me promote my event. (It is also less than a mile away from Max & Erma’s). Their response still shocks me. Not only did they help me promote the event (they printed out 700 flyers for me and passed them out to neighborhoods and businesses), but they put my event into their Kohl’s Cares program…and will be donating $500 to Big Brothers Big Sisters on my behalf. I’m still in shock with this.
Here’s what I’ve learned about kindness…most of the time, you just need to ask and people will help. People will turn down free food for the chance to help local kids. They will come out and toast glasses with you to help a charity raise money. And sometimes they will blow you away with generosity bigger than you could have ever dreamed. You just need to use your imagination and ask.
If you are inspired and want to help Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission to help kids, please check out my donation page.