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I'm participating in a "Polar Bear Plunge", which is a yearly fundraiser for the Cancer Society where teams and individuals raise money in order to jump into a frozen body of water. I have been soliciting pledges from coworkers who work physically close to me, however there are several who work remotely, or that I haven't crossed paths with during the work day. As the event is coming up soon, and I'm only halfway to the minimum amount raised required to jump, I'd like to engage these coworkers as well.

Is it ok to send these coworkers a request using the company email, in a targeted, individual fashion (rather than, say, blasting out on a distribution list or other mass-emailing)?

I should add that I'm interested in using email rather than phone as I've got a bit of social anxiety around using the phone. (needless to say, requesting pledges at all has been a rather difficult venture)

  • If there is a "minimum amount to jump", look carefully at the details and see how much of the minimum goes to the Cancer Society, and how much goes to the commercial organization running the jump. You might want to rethink whether it is appropriate to ask people to fund you doing something fun when only a small proportion of their money will go to the charity. Alternatively, you might want to donate the fee yourself (so all the donations go to charity). (I withdrew from a somewhat similar fundraiser for exactly this reason.) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 23 at 9:46
  • Note that there may not be a commercial organization involved - the minimum is just to stop the volunteers having to deal with too many people for no benefit. However in that case I would expect the minimum to be quite low. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 23 at 9:49
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While you are fundraising for a great cause that many people can relate to this can be a tricky situation. Here are a couple of things I would consider if I were in your situation.

HR

Is it ok to send these coworkers a request using the company email?

Some companies have a policy in place regarding selling products and soliciting fundraiser pledges. My first stop would be to the HR department, or a simple e-mail to the HR admin or whoever seems to be in charge of writing and upholding policies, in my company we don't have an HR department so I know that the Admin Assistant at the front desk usually handles these sorts of questions.

Many companies will review requests on a case-by-case basis and this is the first step. Having done this you may find that you are allowed to do an e-mail blast to the whole company, which could get you more money pledged.

Face to face

I'd like to engage these coworkers as well

It seems that you have only a few people in mind to ask, would it be possible to create run-ins with the ones that work in your building? I might go to their cubical or office to have a short social chat with them during the day. Your idea of targeting a few people may get more targeted pledges as people can see that you are passionate about the cause and want to help out a friend/coworker out. I would also prefer to do this in person then on the phone, phone conversation can be really nerve wracking, and you seem to be able to have held similar conversation with other coworkers, based how I interpreted on your question.

Overall

It seems that if you get a positive response from your HR department, you could also post a little notice in the lunch room or other common areas like elevator waiting area, front hall, or doorways to promote yourself and your cause. Seriously, everyone has had some contact with cancer in their lives, this is a worthy cause that touches everyones heart and you should have no problem in getting pledges if your company will allow you to solicit them.

Good luck!

  • In your "overall" paragraph, if OP is using them, a small notice on any social media account may help to spread the good intention around, and may be more effective than the local annoucement for remote coworkers, don't you think? Espacially if OP has already some links to coworkers on these social media. – OldPadawan Jan 23 at 8:38
  • @OldPadawan It hadn't even occured to me but maybe posting on LinkedIn would be a better course of action. Most of my coworkers there, I could even send messages through the app instead of email – alaskanloops Jan 23 at 18:40
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Is it ok to send these coworkers a request using the company email

Without express permission or a culture within the company of doing this sort of thing via company email it's a bad idea.

The cause is great, but it only takes one person complaining to cause you some grief.

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Using YOUR company email account or THEIRS ?

You should send it from your private account the very least, ideally from private to private account.

Otherwise, you'd better ask your company if they would allow it.

You could also ask if the company might be interested in participating / donating in some form.

  • Spamming your colleagues' work accounts from a private account doesn't make it any better. Either do it privately, or get permission from HR. – Llewellyn Jan 23 at 20:18

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