Backpack Drive Helps 41 Local Families

by | Sep 12, 2014

Backpack Drive Helps 41 Local Families

WorkForce Software Employees More Than Quadruple Last Year’s Project Backpack Efforts

Corporate social responsibility isn’t just a policy. It’s a tangible expression of your company’s principles, demonstrated through action. And sometimes it begins with a single person doing something they’re passionate about.

Take our annual backpack drive. It began last year with one employee—Technical Support Engineer, Lynn Surmann—looking to collect a few school supplies for Project Backpack on behalf of the Waterford Coalition for Youth. As word spread, more employees wanted to take part. So this year, Doug Zawisza, an eLearning Specialist and part of our corporate activities team, invited the whole company to participate. And the results were astounding!

“Last year we filled seven backpacks. This year: 41!” Doug explained. “That takes a worry away from 41 families.”

Enthusiasm for the program was so great that we extended the donation period and donated backpacks and school supplies to the Pittsfield Elementary School in Ann Arbor, as well. “We were able to make sure all of them had at least four notebooks, pencils, rulers, calculators, and crayons,” Doug said.

“Plus, we collected three extra boxes of supplies for the teachers!” Lynn added. “Items they typically have to dig into their own pockets for, so we felt really good about that.”

Even remote employees got involved, sending boxes of goodies to kick off the school year through Lynn commented, “We received supplies from Ann Arbor, California, and New Jersey!”

Doug summed it up well, saying, “It was overwhelming in the most positive sense!”

“It’s more than a backpack drive; it really shows the spirit of the people here,” Lynn added. “They do it because they want to, and they jump in and have fun with it. It gives us a real sense of camaraderie.”

How to Promote Social Responsibility at Your Company
Looking to start something where you work? Lynn and Doug shared these tips:

  1. Go for it! Pick a charity or cause and share the opportunity to give with your colleagues. “Don’t be afraid to do it,” Doug said. “It’s a quick and easy team-building exercise, and it gives colleagues a chance to shine—both personally and professionally.”
  2. Plan ahead. Once you identify a cause, gather all the facts you need to know about the program, including the due dates and a list of requested items—as well as any exceptions.
  3. Make sure you have a point person. You’ll need someone to promote the program to your employees and keep track of donations.
  4. Communicate early and often. Let people know when donations are due and provide updates along the way to keep the momentum going.
  5. Keep it simple. Set realistic goals your first year—and have fun with it! As Lynn pointed out, “It’ll all fall into place. And if it’s not perfect the first year, you’ll learn from it and make it better the next year.”

So what’s our Project Backpack goal for 2015? Doug is planning for 60, at least! “It’s an easy project to do, and it makes a big impact!”

How does your company demonstrate corporate social responsibility? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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