Photo Hilary Ehlen
Office Sign Company works year-round to give back to the community and empowers its employees to do the same throughout Fargo-Moorhead. Jack Yakowicz, the company’s VP of Sales & Marketing, sat down to give an inside look at how OSC gives back before, during and after Giving Hearts Day.
How has OSC given back to local nonprofits?
For the last three years, we’ve used our sister brand’s website (FargoStuff.com) to sell reclaimed wood hearts. These hearts have “Fargo” or “Moorhead” engraved or printed on them and sell for $15 (with the option to donate more if they so choose). On the listing, we allow our customers to choose which non-profit they’d like for the funds to be donated to on Giving Hearts Day. Then, on GHD, we shut off our product listing in the late afternoon and re-distribute all the funds to the non-profits that were selected (we don’t keep a single penny from this). From 2017-2019, we raised $8,895 (pre-matching) through the sale of 548 hearts. It’s allowed us to maximize our giving potential while also helping our customers determine who we should be donating the funds to! It’s been a blast for our team, each year, to create a new design for the heart that we sell.
Why, as a company, is it important to support nonprofits?
To me, it’s the best use of my marketing budget. Not only does it allow our company to do good in our community (which makes our employees more fulfilled and our customers more pleased to shop with us), but it also allows us to build true and authentic partnerships with organizations that are making a big impact in our town. Some of my closest relationships have stemmed from the various donation and sponsorship efforts that Office Sign Company has run over the past five years I’ve been here and I’m truly grateful to work for a place that sees the inherent value in helping the FMWF area.
How do you encourage your employees to get involved with Giving Hearts Day or nonprofits, in general?
We have a few different ways that we encourage employees to get involved. Whenever we have a sponsorship/partnership activity taking place (for example, our Giving Hearts Day hearts, our Garage Sale that benefits an area non-profit, our United Way campaigns and more), we always inform and educate our entire staff about what we’re aiming to accomplish. This helps them take more ownership and engage further and not just view this as a PR initiative or a marketing campaign, but rather as something that they (as employees outside of the marketing department) can take part in. We also have an OSCares volunteer team that lends a hand in the community every four to six weeks. We’ve done things like bagging at Great Plains Food Bank, cooking meals at Ronald McDonald House, answering calls at Prairie Public, creating bouquets at Hope Blooms and more. Finally, we’ve supported those who get out and get involved on their own accord by rewarding individuals who have the highest monthly volunteerism numbers on our staff. Service is a huge value of ours as a company and the way we serve others in our community is a staple of that.
Is supporting nonprofits something that OSC does year-round or is it primarily during Giving Hearts Day?
We definitely aim to do it year-round. The Giving Hearts Day campaign we do is a great way to stay engaged in what, I view, is one of the most fun days in our business community. But our focus on serving our community is year-round. This past year alone, we’ve donated or sponsored over 50 different organizations. Since we have a variety of printmaking capabilities, one of the best ways for us to support non-profits is through in-kind sponsorship of event supplies (banners, table throws, etc.). We’ve always got an eye out for new non-profits that need an extra set of hands and try to do our part to help.