Employee campaigns are the heart of the United Way fundraising system. It is only through the mobilization of hundreds of modest employee gifts, contributed over the course of the year through payroll deduction, that United Way is able to raise the majority of dollars that it does to support the needed services of the local community.
Employers are instrumental in facilitating this massive fundraising effort by supporting and endorsing employee campaigns within the work place.
Employee Campaign Coordinator
The first step is to find a supportive, enthusiastic employee to take on the responsibility of coordinating with their United Way staff person. This employee is respected by the CEO and liked by employees. The role calls for good organization and leadership skills, thorough communication, eagerness and a commitment to the United Way. Planning, structure and follow through are key to a successful campaign. You and other volunteers from within your workplace have full support and backup from the United Way staff.
The responsibilities of the Employee Campaign Coordinator:
- Recruits and facilitates a team of other employee volunteers
- Plans events and promotes the campaign
- Serves as a United Way ambassador
- Ideally is a United Way donor
- Is the coach and the employees are the team
Four Easy Steps to Success
1. Prepare: Getting Started
- Build relationship with United Way staff United Way Staff are available to support and help as much as needed
- Secure top-level support Ask leadership to send emails, speak at employee meetings, and establish the campaign timeline
- Recruit others to help Ask other departments and employees to be involved and assign tasks. These are your planners and workers.
2. Plan: Organizing Your Campaign
- Plan campaign
Review your prior year campaign: What worked? What did not?
- Develop incentives and activities
Days off, special parking privileges, jeans’ day, employer matching challenge and prizes are good incentives
- Set multiple goals
Determine financial and other goals for the campaign
- Establish a campaign schedule
Concentrated, short campaigns are most effective, generally one to two weeks
- Create a plan to educate employees about United Way and the campaign Agency presentations, testimonial speakers from within your company that have benefited from a United Way funded agency, tours and volunteer projects
3. Conduct: Running the Campaign
- Promote your campaign
Use United Way materials, send emails, and share how to donate Campaign Resources
- Host employee meetings and events
Conduct group presentations with United Way staff and testimonial speakers
- Encourage Leadership Giving
Publicize the leadership societies and recognize employees who give at these levels
- Ask everyone to give
Ensure everyone is asked to participate – part time, off-site staff and consultants
- Stay involved and monitor your progress
Check campaign progress against the goals you have set
4. Conclude: Wrapping Up
- Express appreciation to those who helped you run the campaign
Give prizes or special privileges to the employees who helped conduct the campaign
- Say thank you and report results
Display United Way Thank You posters, recognize outstanding efforts, and report results to all employees
- Year-round United Way engagement
Participate year-round – volunteer as a company for a project, host a collection drive at your office or tour agency programs
- Report results and return forms to United Way
See that everything is carefully and completely documented.
- Evaluate your campaign
Produce a summary report to help next year’s Employee Campaign Coordinator
Tips for Solicitation
Incentives and fun activities increase participation and giving which helps more people within our community. Consider offering:
- Casual day
- Special parking
- Company merchandise
- Extra day off for giving at certain level/amount
- Pizza party for the department who raises the most
- United Way Merchandise
- Gift card drawings
Fun Campaign Activities Beyond Payroll
Activities when accompanied by United Way presentations and asking for pledges, give employees something in which to look forward. Consider having activities for employees to participate in and the funds raised go to the United Way campaign total for your company.
- Pumpkin carving contest
- Dessert contest
- Trick or Treat party
- Putt-Putt Tournament
- Basketball shoot-off
- Bake Sale
- Chili Cook-off
- Golf/Softball tournament
- Game Show Trivia about United Way
- United Way Trivial Pursuit
- Silent auction
- Book, CDs and DVDs sale
- Restaurant fundraiser for a United Way night
Reasons to Give
- United Way is working for solutions versus a Band-Aid approach
- Proven results in education, health, essential needs and financial stability
- Donations are invested in OUR community and help our neighbors, family and friends
- Make a greater difference than any single organization can
Responding to Concerns
- Objections are often based on incorrect information, and we hope you will help us clarify any misconceptions
- Objections are not personal; these are not directed at you
- Show sympathy and listen carefully; let them know you care about their concerns.
- Relax and be yourself! Asking for someone’s participation or gift is not a “win/lose” situation. We all win with any donations received/pledged.
As we have reviewed past campaigns to learn from our successes we have drawn some simple conclusions. We hope you will consider these and find them helpful as well. Campaigns that are most successful:
- Realize that people give from the heart and not from financial status.
- Are focused and time limited; a one or two-week campaign window is most effective.
- Are endorsed by business leaders. Employer match programs not only increase the dollar value of the total campaign but they offer incentives for employees to give.
- Are facilitated by employee peers or managers. Employees are more likely to be personally motivated and will feel better about giving when a peer introduces them to the idea.
- Are sure to invite every staff member to respond to the solicitation. Employers who voice a desire for 100% participation often get it. Incentives for achieving this goal can be helpful.
- Have people asking employees to participate face to face. This strategy implies an in-house campaign team.
- Set an in-house goal or challenge that asks people to rise to the occasion and surpass the past year’s accomplishment.
- Kick Off their campaign with a splash. The company has a theme, presenters from area agencies speak, testimonials from employees, show the United Way video, and more can be done to generate excitement for the campaign.
- Call on United Way staff to help and do as much as possible to ensure a successful campaign.