When more than 700 Playhouse Square supporters jammed the lobby of the State Theater last year for the annual Jump Back Ball, more than $40,000 was raised to benefit the Playhouse Square Foundation.
Don Pushinsky, owner of All The Rage Unlimited, developed and designed a Hollywood theme for the evening, complete with movie star look-a-likes and a glitzy celluloid feel.
Many companies donate money to charity and the communities that support them, but far fewer make an effort to provide hands-on aid to benefit those who need it most. All The Rage, however, strives to help the nonprofit sector in as many ways as possible. Pushinsky says that by leveraging the company's expertise, it's possible to give more back than ordinary donations would allow a company of its size.
All The Rage is a 10-employee special events production company that works with companies and organizations to design and execute event planning, from conceptualization through production.
Here's how Pushinsky uses his business to make a difference in the community.
Give expert advice
With the resources and expertise that his company boasts, Pushinsky makes a dedicated commitment to community. His favorite way to help charities is to have All The Rage sit on boards to aid in planning benefits. Among the groups he's done this for are the Playhouse Square Partners, the Cancer Society, Cleveland Indians Charities, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Beechbrook Home For Children and The Multiple Sclerosis Women's Committee.
"Since we do this for a living, we'd like to go onto boards and advise them how to make the most with their money and how to market their event well and we do that all complimentary," Pushinsky says. "We just try to raise the bar for these guys -- it's our favorite thing to do because it's what we do best."
Such was the case with the Playhouse Square events that he helps with each year. While having a large bash is nothing new, the idea of creating related themes that partygoers can step into character for adds an entirely new dimension to the fund-raising process.
Get employees involved
Besides being directly involved himself, Pushinsky routinely tells employees to take time off. Of course, when he gives them time off, it is with a good cause in mind -- employees are encouraged sit on the boards of local nonprofit organizations and provide advice, similar to what Pushinsky does.
To make the offer more attractive, he invites employees to make use of the company's resources and expertise, and they can aid any cause they choose.
"We encourage them to help at least three different causes each year," says Pushinsky. "And when they get on boards, we become a corporate sponsor to back them, to give them support."
Don't forget about traditional donations
On a corporate level, All The Rage makes donations each year to nonprofit organizations. Thirty percent of the company's total revenue is earmarked to aid charity, Pushinsky says. And, all charities and nonprofits benefit with a 50 to 70 percent discount on All The Rage's services above and beyond consulting-type work.
Pushinsky can't hide his selflessness when asked to explain why community service is so important to him.
"It's just a great way to give back to the community," he says. "It's a way for employees to take pride in a company, and it shows that it's more than just about business for us; it shows our personality."
But he recognizes the limitations with a small staff. So each year, employees meet to determine which charities will receive All The Rage's assistance.
"We pick and choose each year," he says. "There are some favorites of ours -- for instance, we're always on Cancer, but the rest we vote on." How to reach: All The Rage Unlimited, (800) 745-8256
Courie Weston (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a reporter at SBN.