It used to be a drive that collected gently used work clothing. But times, and needs, have changed.
Since 2002, Robert Half recruiters and corporate employees across North America have provided support for tens of thousands of low-income job seekers during an annual Suit Drive. The company has worked with employers, job candidates and business contacts to raise funds, share career resources and collect professional business attire with the nonprofit Dress for Success® and other career development organizations.
As a talent solutions firm, Robert Half recognizes job seekers’ challenges and understands the positive effect professional clothing can have on self-assurance and the ability to find a job. Since the program’s inception, Robert Half has collected more than 400,000 items of professional clothing — including suits, dresses, shoes and accessories — and helped countless people entering or re-entering the job force with resume and career advice.
Since the start of the pandemic, women — particularly the most vulnerable ones — have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Many served as caregivers while holding jobs impacted by or eliminated in response to the pandemic. This crisis strengthens Dress for Success and Robert Half’s determination to find additional ways to give people the support they needed to find work and stay in the workforce.
This year’s Suit Drive Re-imagined campaign offered multiple ways to help job seekers gain confidence as they navigate career transitions and pursue new paths. The length of the drive was been extended from a few weeks to three months, running from July through September 2022. New promotional and fundraising activities were added, and through Robert Half’s Global Women’s Employee Network (GWEN), the campaign included Robert Half employees in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Here’s how Robert Half and Dress for Success worked together to help those looking for jobs:
A gift that’s needed
Dress for Success has seen an influx of clothing donations during the pandemic. Now, it’s looking at new ways to support job seekers. To help in this effort, Robert Half promoted a gift card drive for retailers of women’s and gender-neutral clothing. Gift cards to stores selling health and wellness items and office supplies, and store credit, were also welcome.
“Many of our customers can talk to their Robert Half contact or local office about ways to support the gift card drive,” said Leslie Chamberlain, Robert Half senior manager, community relations. “It’s a great cause to be involved in — helping others get the support they need to find work.”
Want to contribute or learn more? Email [email protected].
Career advice: More than an encouraging word
In July, Robert Half hosted a workshop with Diane Domeyer, Robert Half managing director and, separately, a panel discussion featuring Robert Half directors Cynthia Ortega, Michelle Reisdorf and Katy Tanner. Both online events focused on the topic of career changes. They were followed by brief coaching sessions, where Robert Half volunteers met with Dress for Success participants in breakout rooms to talk, offer career advice and answer questions.
“It was an amazing way to support women who were there looking for work,” Ortega said. “I hope we were able to provide some practical advice and inspire participants to reach for their dreams.”
For highlights from Diane Domeyer’s workshop presentation, “Career Development in the New Business Environment,” see this post.
Move for a good cause
In addition to providing career resources, many teams and individuals raised funds for Dress for Success. Robert Half pledged the first $50,000. The company also will match employee volunteer hours and donations.
“In addition to Robert Half matching donations and fundraising efforts, or every hour our employees walk, run, stretch or participate in any type of organized movement during August and September, the company’s matching gifts program will make a financial grant to benefit Dress for Success,” Domeyer said.
Robert Half employees registered for the Dress for Success Virtual Power Walk, Aug. 27-28, 2022, and used Robert Half’s matching gifts dollars to match donations and fundraising totals. Clients and job candidates could get involved by sponsoring a Robert Half professional or team, participating in the Power Walk themselves, or spreading the word to friends, colleagues and others in their networks.
Other employee groups at Robert Half, like GWEN, participated in their own planned activities and applied for company volunteer grants for the hours they are active.
“I’m excited about the new ways we are supporting Dress for Success and its clients during our 20th annual Suit Drive,” said Rita Steel, Robert Half operational president and pioneer of the company’s first Suit Drive. “Responding to the needs of job seekers can greatly impact the lives of those who are most in need of some support.”
During the 10 weeks of our Suit Drive Re-imagined, we engaged with and supported thousands of job seekers from Dress for Success and other organizations. Thanks to our employees' generosity, our matching gifts program, support from our business contacts and corporate grants, we donated $300,000 to nonprofits focused on education and workforce development.
Here are some of Robert Half’s philanthropic efforts during other times of the year:
Want to learn more about how Robert Half supports the areas where our employees live and work? Read more about our community outreach.