September 30, 2013
Running my first United Way campaign for GEICO Indianapolis has been a rewarding experience. Achieving the Largest First Time Workplace Award is icing on the cake. (We raised $51,272 and involved 90 percent of our employees!) If you're thinking of getting your company involved for the first time, here are six tips that might help you put together your own award-winning campaign!
Reach out to United Way to work with them from the very beginning.Meet with your United Way representative to establish timelines for your company events. Offer them information regarding the background and values of your company. Also provide them with a company profile that includes staffing numbers and your company’s overall goal of the campaign.
Take advantage of the free United Way training to collect information and network with other community minded companies. Find out what other companies have done to promote the LIVE UNITED calls to give, advocate and volunteer in their organizations.
Next, meet with upper management to create your budget, strategy and overall goal of the campaign. Make sure everyone agrees with the plan and will support it. We chose to run a Pacesetter (early) campaign as part of introducing our new GEICO office to the Indianapolis community. Then, we created a team of passionate associates and managers to spread the word and assist with a kickoff event. Finally, we chose a football theme for the campaign to coincide with the start of the new NFL season and to tie into the popularity of the Colts in our new office.
Design a high energy kickoff that involves everyone. Create passion about the United Way mission and the opportunities it creates for everyone BEFORE asking for a gift/pledge. Do not just send out a companywide email! You need to be the face of the kickoff.
We used our football theme to create a “buzz” at the kickoff that generated fan enthusiasm. Our tailgate party featured themed food and activities like burgers, soda, games, etc. Make sure everyone is invited to the event and can participate.
Many people who want to give actually appreciate ideas about where to get started. Consult with your corporate human resources professionals to offer suggested giving levels for everyone. Lead with a commitment from upper management and move throughout the levels. One pledge motivates another. In presenting suggested giving levels, link the amount to what the gift can accomplish. For example, just $5 a week supports a community youth basketball team for 10 weeks.
After the kickoff, involve everyone in a team contest. At GEICO, each team was responsible for creating a gift basket valued under $25 to be raffled two weeks after kickoff. Anyone could buy raffle tickets for a dollar each for the chance to win the gift baskets.
For any donation to United Way (minimum $52) became eligible for casual dress on Fridays!
Through your United Way representative, reach out to partner agencies to connect both your campaign events and non campaign events to the mission of helping people learn more, earn more and lead safe and healthy lives.
For example, after our kickoff event, we donated food to Second Helpings. And, after the campaign had ended, we set dates for the remainder of the year to offer our associates opportunities to volunteer in the community.
Good luck, and above all, enjoy the experience of giving today to change tomorrow!
Employee campaign coordinator