Enjoying the Rest of Our March of Dimes Season

Keeping people’s attention is a fleeting thing. What starts of as lots of enthusiasm can dwindle over time. That is why we generally don’t extend our inner-office March of Dimes fundraising beyond 2 months. This post is dedicated to the remaining efforts in the 2014 season.

Shameless plug #1

Shameless plug #1

Stop being loud. Start saving babies – We had a very successful silent auction in the office, folks were generous both in donations as well as bids. We had 22 entries and raised an incredible $1,031! Here is our link to the MOD silent auction page. Don’t you wish you bid? I love this event because it does a solid job fundraising but it’s also fun to see what percolate in a co-worker’s mind to donate a decorative sheep pie plate, or paint a purple bird painting,

Shameless plug #2

Shameless plug #2

or donate a hummus cooking class, play guitar? GREAT! We have a class for that. The other is seeing just how many alcohol baskets one small office can procure. Impressively there were four. Yes, we like to drink, yes, we like to bid. End of story.

see my t-shirt, see how it's grand?

see my t-shirt, see how it’s grand?

March for Babies. This is one of my favorite times of year, the spring weather has arrived, families and friends join together for a walk to celebrate our babies and honor the little spirits that are no longer with us. This year was sunny, but bitterly cold. It reminded my that Mother Nature wasn’t done with us. Hundreds of families trekked the 5K with gloves, winter hats and warm coats. Though we had adorable ddm/MOD t-shirts on, they were buried deep underneath our coats. Long story short, I made this walk memorable by needing assistance from the Caledonia fire department when my hands turned purple. Two minutes assessing my numb fingers I was issued real firefighter gloves, in a size XL. I proudly waved those huge mitts as if they were a foam hand at a baseball game. VIVA March for Babies, VIVA Caledonia fire department! Kudos to ddm for raising $1,796 online!

Waiting with baited breath.

Waiting with baited breath.

Bowling for Babies! (Please do not use babies to bowl.) This was a new event for us, would people come on a Sunday? Would we be able to peel them away from family obligations, out-of-town games, sleeping on their couches? For the most part yes. Lots of co-workers and their loved ones joined. Two solid hours of bowling, pizza and refreshments, we squeezed in a 50/50 raffle, and the big cake reveal. Nothing could have been better. Well except my BLUE team didn’t win.



PURPLE dominated (they did so with additional online and & daily mile donation success.) Damn you PURPLE team. Mark, my boss, provided us with the most honest reaction to unveiling that he didn’t lead winners, he led runner ups. At least we clocked in $585 for the event, overall.

In summary this year ended on a high note, we beat our total amount raised¬†from 2013 by almost $1,000. We encouraged the participation of all the new co-workers we collected since last year, we tried a new event and people actually came. A MOD SQUADDER cannot complain. We raised $5,426.78 – that ain’t half bad. Check out how we performed by event.


Saving babies through beverages, baked goods & bulging bellies.

On Friday, March 28 we had our Potluck CookOff. Rather than have people cook 30 vats of chili (not enough antacid in Grand Rapids would help us), we encouraged people to cook up or prepare their family favorites and bring them to our office for a fierce competition.

Nom... nom...nom...

Nom… nom…nom… photos taken by Anna Gustafson – ddm mkt & comm.

The first step was setting a base price. We tried a modest $7, cheaper than most downtown lunch places in Grand Rapids. MI.

Next we encouraged people to bring change to give to cooks whose food reigned supreme. Like it? Love it? Drop some change into their tip cup. Tips add up, babies love change. (Please do not feed change to babies, that is dangerous.)

This year we introduced recipe sharing. Love the recipe? Want to wow and amaze your friends? GREAT, pay $1 and you too can make this culinary miracle in your own home. (Results are still dependent on your own ability to cook.)

People signed up for lots of creative dishes (we had 20 cooks and almost all 50+ employees ate in), here is a smattering of what was offered:

more scooping, less talking

more scooping, less talking – photos taken by Anna Gustafson ddm mkt & comm.

  • Greek couscous salad
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Beef stroganoff
  • Moroccan chickpeas
  • Jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon
  • Carrot salad
  • Hummus duo
  • Pesto pasta salad
  • Potato salad
  • Blackberry cupcakes
  • Maple cake
  • Better-than-sex cake

Hungry? Yeah me too. The key was to let people decide what to bring and how much to bring. We provided plenty of reminders via clever emails and signage around the office, we realized that our co-workers are quite horrible at remembering things. Even. Right. In. Front. Of. Their. Faces….. sigh.

Christa, fellow MOD SQUAD member, adding some lunchtime cheer to her recipe.

Christa, fellow MOD SQUAD member, adding some lunchtime cheer to her recipe. photos taken by Anna Gustafson, ddm mkt & comm.

The $7 fee went to the respective team to which the ddmer is assigned to (whether a ddmer participates in any activities or now, doesn’t matter, in case they do their contributions goes to the team.) Tips were also assigned to the designated team to which the cook belonged.

Simple and easy.

Yes, sir, those are bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. photos taken by Anna Gustafson ddm mkt & comm.

Yes, sir, those are bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. photos taken by Anna Gustafson ddm mkt & comm.

People were generous with their meals and with tipping. Enthusiasm was up, we had 50% more cooks and we doubled our results over last year, $463 for 2014, $280 for 2013. This might not feel like a huge sum, but the potluck cookoff, which is a ddm favorite, is a great warm up for the rest of our inner-office March of Dimes activities. Mark’s team, the blue team (I am on that team.) won the competition, but honestly only a few dollars separated the winners from the losers.

I was in the best mood that day... no idea why.

I was in the best mood that day… no idea why. photos taken by Anna Gustafson ddm mkt & comm.

If you feel inspired, help us raise some money! (This link is for my personal page that I share with Henry my adorable mini man.) We encourage all donations, and we sent out a special thank you message to all who do. If you are inspired and you are a ddmer, sign up to fund raise through Team Iris. Not a ddmer but still want to be part of the March of Dimes efforts, lovely learn more from their website!

Our first event was a success and we are excited about the MOD 2014 season. Please consider helping!

To learn more about the March of Dimes and how it’s helping families in your community, please visit their website for more information.

Saving Babies the ddm Way

As long as I can remember my company, ddm marketing & communications has participated in the annual March for Babies in April. Though our ddmers were rising in numbers, our participation largely remained flat (boo… boo…). Three years ago a few of us took a stand, established the MOD SQUAD

from left Lisa, Jewel, Caroline, Christa. Photos Courtesy of ddm.

from left Lisa, Jewel, Caroline, Christa. Photos Courtesy of ddm. Fully aware these lovely ladies will kill me once they see what I’ve designed in Word.

and brought the baby competition into the office. Our “season” begins in March and generally runs through the end of April, culminating at the March for Babies event, on April 26.

We devised various activities through a creative brainstorm that has since fueled fierce competition, trash talk and a nice amount of funds raised. Some events were a success others felt like a failure (lottery for babies, not so much, beer and wings for babies, nope…), but each year we review and consider what will be worthy of our inner-office competitors.

So how is this done? Glad you asked, let’s review shall we?

Mark and Mike weren't supposed to be wearing any pie, Jordan surprised us all. It also surprised the clients Mark and Mike were meeting 10 minutes later.

Mark and Mike weren’t supposed to be wearing any pie, Jordan surprised us all. It also surprised the clients Mark and Mike were meeting 10 minutes later.

We have three partners at ddm: Mark, Mike and newbie Jordan. Jordan’s introduction to his rookie year (MOD 2013) as team captain was done through a pie-throwing contest, which had gone horribly wrong. (see photo). But now he’s a leader and even in his rookie year his team took top honors (we are still reviewing the numbers.)

As each year passes we learn from our mistakes, 2013, too many events, too quickly. People were overwhelmed. This year, MOD 2014, brings in a level of familiarity with three mainstay events and a new toss up.

1. Potluck Cookoff – March 28
(more on this in my next post)

2. Silent Auction for Babies – April 18
(babies are not being auctioned, non-ddmers are encouraged to participate, online bidding will be available.)

3. March for Babies – April 26
(help me become the ultimate overachiever. Or just come and join us!)

4. NEW to us… Bowling for Babies – Early May
(we will not use babies to bowl.)

Our process is simple, if you are a ddmer you are automatically assigned under one of the three teams, blue, gray, or purple. Your donations, tips, personal fundraising count toward your team’s total.

The team with the highest total will be hailed victorious and the losing teams will have to take the ultimate trash talking.

Through various means of fundraising, both inner-office and personal, ddm has raised between $4,000 – $7,500 each year. We are pleased with the results and hope that each year our fellow ddmers will embrace this tradition of saving babies through fierce competition. Check back with me to see how our events roll out and what results they yield.

To learn more about how the March of Dimes is helping your community and its families in need, please visit their website for additional information.



Caroline Ramseyer