For the past few years, I’ve volunteered for Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana’s annual fundraising event, the SNSI Hair Ball. It’s neat when the skills you use at work every day can actually benefit such a worthwhile cause. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

Lesson #1: Be memorable. “Hair Ball: Cough it up for the Animals.” As someone who works in marketing, it’s a pretty genius tagline for a charity event that raises money for spay and neuter. (Wish I had written it.)

Lesson #2: Believe one person can make a difference. Six years ago, a woman lost her beloved cat. She started Hair Ball. The first year, it raised $4,300. To date, it’s raised $155,000 for SNSI.

Lesson #3: Focus on the solution, not the problem. I love volunteering for SNSI because that’s exactly what they do. Pet overpopulation is completely preventable. One unaltered female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in only 7 years. One unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 offspring in only 6 years.

Lesson #4: Tug the heartstrings. 800 cats and dogs are euthanized every hour in the United States. Every hour. Only 1 out of 10 dogs and 1 out of 12 dogs ever find a permanent home.

Lesson #5: But always keep it fun. Free food, beer, wine, music, kids’ activities and exciting auction items keep attendees engaged.

Lesson #6: Try new things. Last year, we had less than 100 fans on Facebook. This year, I focused on growing our fans to nearly 330 and saw a jump in event attendance.

I’d love to hear how you use your daily business skills to help a local charity, school or church group.

The 2011 SNSI HairBall poster