If you own or run a business in Montgomery County, this is for you. Actually, doesn't even have to be an entire business. If you are responsible for a department or even a few employees, listen up.

Help your business, help your bottom line. Give away some money. Give up some of your employees' time.

It'll help your business.

No, I'm not nuts. Well . . . uh, OK, let's leave that for a different column. But trust me on this. You can improve your business, your department, your division by doing this.

The MUFFY drive is a perfect example. Our local United Fund has fallen on some tough times the past couple of years. Lots of reasons, but one is that the overall job and business climate in Crawfordsville and Montgomery County has had a rough patch of road as well. During that time, businesses worked their tails off - not for record profits, but just to survive. Some didn't. It's a sad fact.

The survivors made it for a number of reasons, not the least of which can be attributed to an engaged workforce. The more an employee buys into whatever it is their company or their boss is selling, the better chance that company has of being successful. No, it's not an end-all, be-all answer, but it's an important factor.

Some companies literally spend millions on figuring this out. They hire consultants. Bring in touchy-feely folks and sometimes sit around the campfire and sing songs. Nothing wrong with that if you've got millions to spend. For us little guys out here in the real world, giving to an organization like MUFFY can do just as much for your company and costs a heck of a lot less.

Let me explain.

Take a company that decides to have an internal campaign and goes all out with incentives to get employees to offer up a "Fair Share" (one hour of pay per month) pledge. Let's say the company offers some flex time, a few days off, some free lunches - you name it - as a way to get employees to participate. Let's say the boss goes all out, too. Tell you what, she says, you guys hit your goal and I'll work from the roof for a day, or shave my head (i.e., Brad Monts from HHSB), or wash employee cars, or cook lunch for the place or whatever. Let's go one step further. Remember Homecoming week in high school? Back in the day they called it spirit week and each day had a different theme. We came to school dressed like cowboys one day, in togas the next (hey, it was a different time!) and so on. What if your company or department had a spirit week as part of the campaign?

I know, I know. You're thinking this Timmons guy has lost his mind and that all this stuff is just going to waste time, kill productivity and cost money.

You're right. But it does something else. It galvanizes a staff. It brings people together. It engages your employees. (Hey, hire one of those fancy-schmancy consulting companies and those are the words they'll use.) And when the campaign is over, you and your folks and your company have made a positive difference in your community. You probably just qualified for some tax break. And - and this is where that selfish business stuff comes in - your workforce just accomplished a goal.

Think about that for a second. If times are tough, how many goals have been missed? This helps get things back on track. It's a win you can tuck under everyone's belt and it's the beginning of what can be some powerful momentum.

Let's see. You helped your community. You got employees fired up. You found a tax loophole. You created some positive energy at work that can carry over to the next project. And you didn't even have to break the bank on a consultant to do so. Hard to get much better than that, huh?

Friends, there are 42 days left for this year's MUFFY drive. There are 16 agencies out there that help women, children, senior citizens, the needy, the broken and all sorts in between. Times are tough for everyone, but especially tough for those who have trouble helping themselves. Please make a difference. Have a campaign and do everything you can to give back this year. Trust me, you and your business won't regret it.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.