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Workplace Campaigns

Tips for a Successful Campaign

Tips for Running a Successful Payroll Campaign

1. Set goals.  Setting both monetary and participation goals is a critical step in setting expectations throughout the organization and creates a common cause.  United Way will help you calculate goals that are reasonable for our community and your workforce.

2.  Set a schedule. Publicize it and stick to it.  Let everyone know ahead of time what events and meetings are planned, when pledges are due, and when totals will be announced. Folks are more likely to turn in their pledge forms when the campaign doesn’t drag on so long that the whole thing becomes a distant memory.

3. Work with a committee.  Feedback we have received from Employee Campaign Coordinators says that assembling a committee to organize the United Way workplace campaign is one of the most important ways to guarantee a more successful fundraising effort. It spreads the labor, contributes to building a team atmosphere, and produces more creativity.

4. Have a visible role for executives and management.  Make sure all employees know that the United Way campaign is supported by management, all the way to the top.  Have CEO and management sign e-mails and letters that go out to all employees expressing support for the campaign.

5. Emphasize giving through payroll deductions.  Giving through payroll deductions is the easiest way for most employees to make the biggest impact.

6. Let United Way help you.  We are ready to help you conduct your employee campaign in a number of ways.  We can:

  • Come and talk to your employees.
  • Arrange for an agency representative to talk to your employees.
  • Arrange for tours of our partner agencies for your employees.
  • Respond to any questions, concerns, or comments that might arise among your employees.
  • Provide success stories.
  • Provide narrated presentations that can be e-mailed to staff.

 7. Motivate employees.  Whether or not we admit it, we all respond to incentives.  Knowing that you are “doing good” is nice.  Knowing that you are doing good AND have a chance to win an extra vacation day is even nicer.  Here are some ways to motivate your employees:

Track your Goals
One great way to motivate employees is to publicly track your goal.

  • Place United Way goal thermometers around your workplace – the lobby, break room, in front of the building, etc. Periodically update the thermometer.
  • E-mail goal updates to employees – this can be paired with “United Way Success Stories.”
  • Have the CEO or another member of management wear the same tie throughout the campaign – as you get closer to your goal, cut the tie accordingly until, hopefully, it disappears.

When employees turn in their (completed!) pledge form, they can be automatically eligible to participate in fun activities such as:

  • Football Throwing Contest. Can be divided into men’s and women’s groups, management versus staff, etc.  Everyone gets two throws.  Farthest throws win prizes.
  • Pumpkin Throwing Contest.  You will need several pumpkins weighing the same amount, as the thrown pumpkins will probably explode!
  • Balloon Pop.  Employees choose a balloon to pop.  Some balloons have “coupons” in them for “Sleep-in” passes, “Go Home Early” passes, “Two-Hour Lunch” passes, etc.
  • Pumpkin Bowling Contest.  Borrow old pins from a bowling alley, or use 2 liter bottles of pop.  Set up an alley in your parking lot or a long hallway and let the games begin!
  • Paper Airplane Flying Contest.  Employees show off their best plane-folding skills. Everyone writes their name on their plane, stands in a line, and lets them fly.  Awards for longest flight, shortest flight, etc.
  • Gumball Hocking Contest.  Who can propel a gumball the farthest with their mouth?  Don’t choke!!
  • Tricycle Races. 
  • Guess the Number of Marbles/Cotton Balls/Bolts in the Jar.  When pledge forms are turned in, employees make a guess.  At the end of the campaign, the winner is determined and receives a prize.
  • Prize Drawing.  Line up several prizes (see below for ideas).  When pledge forms are turned in, employees draw for a prize. 
  • Special prizes for NEW donors. Consider providing special incentives for those employees who are giving for the first time. 
  • Special prizes for donors who increase their gift by a certain percentage.

Consider the following motivators if your workplace meets or exceeds its goals:

  • Designated employee shaves a member of management’s head.  If your workforce meets a “stretch” goal, the CEO gets shaved!
  • Management provides breakfast/pizza party/afternoon BBQ.
  • Car wash by management. 

Special Events 
The primary purpose of special events is to help create a fun atmosphere during the workplace campaign while raising additional dollars beyond employee pledges.  We want this to be a time of year that people look forward to, not dread!!

  • Inter-Company Competition! – Contact the Employee Campaign Coordinator at another workplace and see if they are willing to engage in a little friendly competition for a good cause!  If there are a disparate number of employees, you can use the average gift to determine the victor.  Publicity and executive support are key to success.  The winning company earns early dismissal, or some other workplace-wide reward.
  • Inter-Department/Shift Competition…
  • Root Beer Floats can be sold for $1 in the lunchroom.
  • Sundaes…
  • Hot dogs…
  • Theme Days – 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, etc.
  • Bake Sale – Bakers can set up shop in the lunch room.
  • Car Wash – Hold a carwash as a special event and charge $5.
  • Chili Cook-Off
  • Group Wellness – If your workplace is participating in a wellness program, you can incorporate it into the United Way campaign.  Collect pledges for every 1000 steps taken, or have management pledge a bonus United Way donation if employees meet certain wellness goals.
  • Basket Auction – Individual departments can create a themed gift basket (fishing, movies, cooking, car care, etc.) to be auctioned off over a lunch hour.
  • E-Bingo! – Sell Bingo cards for a small fee.  Send emails throughout the week with one or two Bingo numbers each time.  The first person to get Bingo sends an email to all users.  And of course – he or she wins a prize!
  • Caring Company Cookbook – Ask employees to contribute favorite recipes for a company cookbook which can be compiled and sold in the lunch room.
  • Massage - Do a raffle of names of those who donated.  Pull a name from a hat and the winner gets a 15 minute chair massage in their office!

Prize Ideas –  Discuss what funds or incentives are available through your employer.  Prizes don’t need to cost much to help employees have fun with the campaign.

  • “Sleep-in” pass
  • Floral bouquet
  • Gift certificates/cards – restaurants, salons, gas, oil change, golf, etc.
  • Tickets to athletic event
  • Free night at local hotel or Bed and Breakfast
  • Car rental
  • One full or half vacation/personal day
  • Prime parking spot for a week/month
  • Casual dress for a week
  • Movie tickets
  • Free popcorn at the movies
  • Items available from United Way Worldwide:
  • Anything else you can think of that would appeal to your employees

Try to personally hand out pledge forms – don’t simply put them in with paychecks.  

9. Thank Everybody and Celebrate your success.  Thank everyone, whether or not they chose to give this year. 

  • Send an e-mail or letter from you or your CEO to all employees to thank them and to report results.
  • Hand out candy or other small tokens.

PLEASE - NO COERSION!  Fundraising should always be conducted in a voluntary manner; coercion creates animosity, hinders communication and understanding, and eventually leads to decreased support. We discourage the practice of seeking 100% participation in a campaign, as that may inadvertently encourage coercion.

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