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Though it has ‘fun’ in its name, organizing and executing a fundraiser can be anything but enjoyable. For many people, asking for money is awkward at the best of times, and doing so in the work place can be downright intimidating. For those in the know, however, there are any number of enjoyable ways to get coworkers and employers involved in supporting a worthy cause. Here are five of the best ways to raise funds at work.

1. Dress Down Day

Ask your manager, human resources representative or other supervisor for approval to have a casual dress day at work. Instead of slacks and a button down, one can wear jeans and a sweatshirt. It is straightforward, easy to orchestrate, and appeals to everyone–really, this fundraiser is practically effortless. Once you have permission, spread the word around the office. Have coworkers buy a “ticket” for just a few dollars, and in return they can come into work dressed comfortably rather than dressed to the nines.  Your coworkers are happy and you can raise money for the cause. It’s truly a win-win situation.

Bonus tip: If one feels especially adventurous, they can turn their casual day into a “dress up” day and ask people to wear their zaniest costumes to work and have a contest to see who has the best.

2. Brown Bag It

This one harks back to schooldays of yore with plastic lunchboxes and peanut butter and jelly. Ask your coworkers to forgo their takeout or cafeteria lunch for one day and instead to bring their food from home and to donate the money they saved by doing so. For extra fun, turn it into a potluck or a picnic. By doing this, a business can raise money and build office camaraderie at the same time.

3. Dollar-an-Inch Contest

There is no better way to get your coworkers excited to donate than by involving the management. On the day of the contest, each executive, manager, etc. engages in a competition to have the shortest–or craziest–tie by the end of the day (ladies as well.) Each time an employee gives a donation, they get to cut an inch off of their favorite manager’s tie.

4. Penny Wars

This one banks on a love for competition. Split the office into separate groups, and set out a jar for each group at the beginning of the week. Make sure each jar is labeled with the group’s name and a little information about the cause. Throughout the week, ask people to throw their spare pocket change into the jar. At the end of the week, all the money that has been collected can be donated, and one group will be victorious. Reward the group that raised the most money with a pizza party (or maybe a two-for-one price on the next dress down day).

5. Ugly Sweater Contest

Halloween has come and gone, meaning the holiday season is finally upon us. Take advantage of the never-ending carols and the decorations that are always out for just a bit too long by organizing an ugly sweater contest in the office. This contest is great because everyone has one in his or her closet–whether it was a gift from an eccentric family member or an immediately regretted impulse purchase. Have each participating staff member take a picture of themselves wearing the ugliest, silliest, or weirdest sweater that they can find. Paste these pictures onto jars and ask everyone to vote for their favorite by putting in donations; whoever’s jar has the most money at the end of the week will win. If someone feels extra daring, they can forgo the jars in favor of an office fashion show. Each model must pay an entry fee, for which they get the exciting opportunity to show off their sweater to their coworkers. This can be a fun and hilarious way to spice up the annual office holiday party.

In the end, the best way to raise money at the office is to have fun with it. Make sure your coworkers know where the money is going, and offer them an enjoyable alternative to just writing a check. Everyone will appreciate the extra effort, and you can raise money for a good cause.

– Rebecca Beyer
Feature Writer

Sources: Borgen Project, United Way/span>
Photo: IGN