Employee Engagement Strategies for Giving Back

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

April 8 2019

April is National Autism Awareness Month, a cause that hits home for a lot of InfoMart’s family and children. One of InfoMart’s employee engagement committees—I’M Giving—spearheaded our fundraising efforts last year, and for our final push for funds, we urged other companies to take the cause beyond April with the #SlimeBucketChallenge.

Are you a small to midsize business worried about managing a charity initiative? It doesn’t have to be a large investment of time or money. Read on to discover four fun, inexpensive employee engagement strategies to energize your team for a collective fundraising effort.

Cooking for a Cause

In our nearly 30 years fine-tuninga robust employee engagement program, InfoMart has discovered a surefire way to rally team enthusiasm: food. From holiday potlucks to healthy snacks following our daily fitness challenges, our celebrations often include eating. So, to jumpstart fundraising, have your employees take to their kitchens and whip up their best desserts.

This is particularly suitable for small and midsized businesses because it requires little in terms of execution. A couple of emails leading up to the event, a table in the break room, and a willing workforce is all you need. Employees are often happy to donate a few batches of baked goods, which alleviates the upfront cost to your organization. Keep the event simple by pricing everything at just $1 and set the sale up from 11 am to 3 pm to catch your team when they’re hungry.

Pro tip: Lots of people don’t carry cash. Circumvent that problem by signing up for a company Venmo or Cash App account. 

1, 2, 3, 4… We Declare a Penny War

“Penny Wars” is one of our favorite employee engagement strategies for infusing some competition into your philanthropic efforts. It’s a customary fundraising technique at InfoMart, one that gets our employees out of their chairs to keep an eye on their departments’ jars.

The rules are simple: assign each department a jar and set them up in a common area. Pennies count as positive points. Silver coins and dollars count as negative points. The goal is to have the highest score at the end of the two-week fundraising period. At InfoMart, the winning department earns a pizza party.

Pro tip: Set a definitive end time for the competition. It’s not uncommon for our employees to withhold their donations until right before the final bell and then “bomb” their rival’s jars with silver coins and bills at the last minute. Last year, IT took the competition when they filled their jar with pennies at 4:59 pm!

Fundraising Fun at a Carnival

Nothing spurs employee engagement like a company carnival, and the event can be customized to meet the needs of employers of all sizes—from a large corporation to a small or midsized company. Sell tickets for each of your activities and encourage your team to participate. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to get out of their desks for half an hour, and you’ll raise money to support your favorite cause.

The event can grow with your company. Just starting out? Invest in reusable games like cornhole and giant Jenga. Turn on some music and sell carnival-inspired foods—soft pretzels, popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream. Small-scale carnivals work just fine in a decently sized break room, but if you need more space, move it out into the parking lot.

Pro tip: You can reuse the games you buy for Friday “recess” in the summer. At 3 pmon Fridays during the nicer months, all of InfoMart heads outside for a 15-minute break to play some games and enjoy a summer snack. It’s a great start to a healthy employee engagement program!

Engage Your Team with a Challenge

Penny Wars taught I’M Giving that our employees love a challenge, and our executive team has never shied away from our employees’ enthusiasm. We’ve taken on the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Mannequin Challenge. We’ve set fundraising goals and then matched the total amount raised. Last April, our team went all out with the #SlimeBucketChallenge. Once you get your executives on board, it’s easy to implement:

  • Set out buckets with your executive’s names. For added flare, InfoMart made foam cutouts of our Board’s faces to adorn the buckets.
  • Sell raffle tickets to your staff
  • Give your team a week to drop their tickets
  • On the day of the event, draw a raffle ticket for each executive. If your ticket is drawn, you get to dump the slime on that executive!

Because we were raising money for Autism Awareness Month, we staged the area in blue (make sure it’s edible just in case— we used instant vanilla pudding, applesauce, food coloring, and cornstarch to thicken it as necessary). We brought the entire company out to the parking lot, set up a video camera, and our executives got messy for a good cause! To keep the fundraising going, we nominated other companies to take up the #SlimeBucketChallenge.

Pro tip: If you find that your employees shy away from donating because they don’t want your executives to know they want to slime them, set a fundraising goal instead. Tell your team if they raise $500, the entire Board of Directors will be slimed.


Join the Cause

Whether you’re a large corporation, a small business, or anywhere in between, your company can do their part to raise money and awareness for a good cause with these employee engagement strategies and more. Have other ideas for fundraising at the office? Share them with us on social!

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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