The holiday cheer that accompanies Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and many other celebrations often results in a stronger “giving” urge. The giving season is a time known by the nonprofit community when an influx of donations takes place. However, as the holiday cheer fades, the donations seem to follow.
In order to maintain the charitable giving spirit throughout the year, many nonprofits invent creative and innovative ways to keep donors engaged.
Although Mindy Matthews, a Senior Business & Finance Analyst who has been with Copart for more than seven years, does not own or work at a nonprofit, she understands that these charitable organizations need support year-round. Her husband, Mark Matthews, is the executive director of the Child Abuse Council in the Quad Cities Metro area in northwest Illinois and southeastern Iowa.
One night the couple shared tales of their jobs, as they often do. Mindy was particularly touched and inspired by a particular project. Safe from the Start is a program that provides therapy for children aged 0-5 who have been directly exposed to violence, such as being a firsthand victim of abuse or a witness to a violent crime.
Mindy, who had recently changed locations within her employment at Copart, thought about this and also about her husband’s struggles to manage a nonprofit that is funded primarily by donations.
“At the time I had recently relocated. I was feeling ‘new’ and also felt like a bit of an outsider since I didn’t work for the local yards or departments. I wanted to challenge the norm and bring our office together as a team and get to know more of my coworkers,” said Mindy.
Challenging the norm is one of Copart’s five company values which are; Act with integrity, Be an owner, Challenge the norm, Get results and Celebrate our people. She then put her idea to action and combined the company values for a great cause.
This was how Monday Fundays were born at Mindy’s office. To raise money for the Child Abuse Council, she prepared a luncheon every Monday and invited her fellow employees to attend for the low cost of $5. Leftovers were also made available on Tuesdays for a $3 steal.
The lunches varied from taco bars, baked potato bars, baked ziti, mozzarella sticks and many other mouth-watering options. She achieved this by revising her lunch budget throughout the week. The supplies for the lunches come out of Mindy’s pocket and all proceeds go to the nonprofit.
Since the Monday Fundays started, Mindy has raised $4,199.50. The budget for the state of Illinois where the organization is founded currently has frozen charitable funding. The amount raised by the Copart office is an immense help to the children served by the Child Abuse Council.
Aside from the contributions, her service achieved something greater than monetary gain.
“I started talking to people for more than just saying hello and goodbye. People started asking me how much money we have raised and asking what was for lunch next week,” Mindy said. “I wanted to create a community here, somewhere more than just a place where you punch in and out of.”
Mindy works in a one-man department at her office, but she used her creativity to meet and unite her fellow employees towards a good cause. Now, she is known as the go-to person for charitable advice, she’s helped with corporate events and also helped a coworker with her son’s baseball trivia night fundraiser.
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