For past six years, Sage Financial Group has embraced The Million Mile and made it their own. Last year, they proudly finished second on the campaign leaderboard!
By: Trish Adkins
The experts all agree: corporate team building is critical to the success of your business. It increases employee morale which trickles down to consumer satisfaction. When you combine corporate team building with fundraisers, it is pure magic.
Launched by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in 2013, The Million Mile encourages supporters to walk, run or cycle as many miles as possible during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September while raising money to help kids with cancer. In 2018 alone, more than 1,500 teams with 8,000+ participants raised over $1.3 million.
One company that has participated in the program since its inception is Sage Financial Group, an independent wealth management firm located just outside Philadelphia. For the past six years, the firm’s 28 employees have embraced The Million Mile and made it their own. Last year, they proudly finished second on the campaign leaderboard!
Stephen Cohn, Co-President of Sage Financial, and Rebecca Anderson, the firm’s Director of Engagement and Communications, shared how they turned this event into real money to help kids fight cancer and how it became an annual opportunity to deepen client engagement and encourage team building. Here is why you should too.
1. The Million Mile unites everyone in one mission.
Employees will be proud that they are working together to improve the lives of others and support ALSF, an organization that directly impacts children fighting cancer. According to Stephen, clients and customers feel those “feel good” vibes as well.
“On the client side, Sage has spread the word about the ALSF mission, we’ve raised money together with clients and created stronger and new relationships for both ALSF and Sage. The partnership has truly been a win-win. I think this would be true for any business that partnered with an organization like ALSF,” said Stephen.
2. The Million Mile is turnkey.
For business and corporate teams, ALSF has worked to ensure there are several resources to make your company’s participation as turnkey as possible, while also giving you the flexibility to honor your corporate culture. ALSF has a team of fundraising coaches who are available to answer questions and provide guidance. Plus, there is a library of printable materials on the ALSF website that you can use in your fundraiser.
“ALSF is an incredible resource and partner that’s always there for us. You can always get someone on the phone who knows you. If they don’t have an answer right then, they’ll find one,” said Rebecca.
3. Since the event is virtual, all your office locations can get involved.
Because The Million Mile is virtual, the costs to a company—both in time and money—are minimal. Stephen recommends The Million Mile for businesses of all sizes. For smaller to mid-size businesses that may lack the human, financial and time resources to create a community program from scratch, The Million Mile offers a turnkey solution. The event and technology platform exists, plus ALSF supplies teams with tools, fundraising tips and inspiration to keep them motivated.
For larger businesses, with several locations, the benefits are plentiful as well.
“Some businesses hold actual events, like golf tournaments. Others do corporate sponsorships, but The Million Mile was something we could get the whole organization behind, and everyone could make a direct contribution. Because it’s held online, it’s efficient, scalable and repeatable,” said Stephen.
4. The Million Mile is accessible to all employees.
The Million Mile is all about movement and being physically active. However, it is not just for super athletes. Also, it does not require hours of fitness activities each day.
“You can participate on your own terms and in any way that fits into your life. You can walk, you can run, you can bike. You can do it over lunch with your colleagues, or with your friends in the evening or on the weekend,” said Rebecca.
5. The Million Mile offers opportunities for real life team-building, too.
The virtual aspect of The Million Mile is awesome; but according to Rebecca incorporating in-person activities is critical to building motivation and communication.
“We have to balance the virtual aspects of the fundraiser with in-house activities that build interest and motivation. These activities also create fun team-building opportunities. We create internal competitions with teams that challenge each other. We have fun weekly activities like who can write the best lemon haiku or who can build a boat from a lemon that will float or who can recognize someone’s close-up smile with a lemon in their mouth!” said Rebecca.
Since The Million Mile begins in September, it is a great way to come together after the summer and recalibrate your team for the Fall.
6. The mission makes it magic.
ALSF has the mission of helping families affected by childhood cancer while also funding research for cures and safer treatments. This mission is something employees and clients are eager to support.
“Our employees love it! Each year we do more and more, both internally and externally. It’s part of our brand and employees expect to hear about and participate in it. When September rolls around, they are eager to grab their sneakers and sign up,” said Stephen.
At Sage, The Million Mile has been an event with 100-percent participation.
“Everyone wants to help a cause that’s battling children’s cancer and demonstrating success through direct support of research and families. It’s not always easy to find a cause that everyone can embrace. But if there is one, it is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation,” said Rebecca.
Ready to include charity in your corporate team building plans this year? The Million Mile is a great way to get started! Learn more and take your team building to the next level.