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In Good Company: Dancing in the dark with FCB

This blog series highlights outstanding companies who have gone above and beyond their support and fundraising efforts for WWF through the Living Planet @ Work’s Spring Things campaign. Funds raised through the Spring Things campaign go towards WWF’s conservation work. 

Every second Thursday, employees at FCB Toronto like to get together in the coffee lounge, have a few nibbles and share a drink. Normally, it’s a pretty laid back affair. But in the lead up to Earth Hour 2014, social hour at the ad agency got a whole lot saucier.

FCB Canada employee makes a request and donation at the Live Jukebox during Earth Hour © FCB Canada

FCB Toronto employee makes a request and donation at the Live Jukebox during Earth Hour © FCB Toronto

On March 23rd, organizers darkened the lounge and donned T-shirts that read “turning off turns me on.” Add prizes, a live band, glow sticks and a great cause to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a real barnburner.

The musicians, Ash and Bloom, were only scheduled to play for an hour at the candle-lit party. But 2.5 hours later, they were still belting out appropriate classics like “Dancing in the Dark.” Staff members donated $5 to have their favourite songs played — unplugged, of course.

The lights-out affair did more than provide a festive, nightlife atmosphere. It also got people thinking about the power they have to make a difference for the planet. Campaign organizers handed out Earth Hour “survival kits” containing candles and stickers with environmental messages. Attendees were invited to add their own two cents, sharing their thoughts on video or writing them on the walls with glow-in-the-dark pens.

The Earth Hour Social was just one of many fundraisers concocted by the imaginative crew at FCB. A team of eight got in on the fun, with a fearless leader agreeing to completely submerge at the polar bear dip if staff could raise $3,000 for WWF. To keep track of the progress and encourage donations, a cardboard cut out— complete with old timey bathing suit apparel— was on display at the office with the water level rising as donations came in. Not to be outdone, President Paul Mead laced up his running shoes and tackled the 24th Annual Canada Life CN Tower Stair Climb for WWF.

All told, the folks at FCB raised more than $15,000 for their Living Planet @ Work Spring Things campaign, proving that with a bit of creativity, a few cheeky T-shirts and employees willing to dive headfirst (sometimes quite literally) into conservation efforts, anything is possible.

The FCB Canada team pose for a shot before heading up to climb the CN Tower © FCB Canada

The FCB Toronto team pose for a shot before heading up to climb the CN Tower © FCB Toronto

FCB Toronto Snapshot

Number of employees: 249

Location: Toronto

Corporate culture in a nutshell: Creative, energized, driven

Years involved with Living Planet @ Work: 1

Motivation to support WWF:  We have a long-standing relationship with WWF and we truly believe in the great work that they do for our planet. It also offers a platform for us to amplify our creative DNA and sparks some friendly competition amongst the office that helps foster a fun, supportive and energetic work environment.

Number of campaign participants: All employees participated in some way!

Total amount raised: $15,094.60

Lasting Impressions:  “The best part of the campaign was the absolute satisfaction of completing the climb (I think) with a good time, pushing myself with team members, the build-up to the climb, the camaraderie during the climb. We did it!” – Paul Mead, President

Advice for workplace fundraisers:  Create an internal environment whereby employees own the event rather than management pushing the event down on employees. And to best utilize all the opportunities for creativity, these events really needed to be treated as a marathon not a sprint. Don’t “push” the financial giving/donation element of the event. Instead, ensure the event focuses on fun, camaraderie and culture.

Learn more about how your company can get involved with the Living Planet @ Work program and the many ways you can bring sustainability to your office and support WWF’s critical conservation work.