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 our 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. Arrange for the CEO to speak in the lunch room. Have CEO and management sign e-mails and letters that go out to all employees expressing support for the campaign.
5. Have visible roles for labor leaders. If your workforce is unionized, make sure to involve labor leaders in United Way campaign activities in the same way as executives and management.
6. Emphasize giving through payroll deductions. Giving through payroll deductions is the easiest way for most employees to make the biggest impact they can.
7. Let United Way help you. We are ready to help you conduct your employee campaign in a number of ways. We can:

  • Lend you a campaign video.
  • 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 Power Point presentations that can be e-mailed to staff.
  • Provide SmartTown cards programmed to benefit United Way.

8. 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:
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. Update the thermometer every day.
  • 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.
  • Football Throwing Contest. Can be divided into men’s and women’s groups, management versus labor, 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.
  • Fish/Octopus Throwing Contest. Fish should be dead already! This could also be a reward for meeting your workplace goal – employees get to watch management handle the slippery, stinky fish.
  • Marshmallow/Lemon/etc. Golf. Who can drive a lemon the farthest? Closest to the pin? On one leg?
  • Frozen Turkey 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 the next page 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.
  • 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.
  • CEO/other member of management dress up as … Check out costumes at the local costume shop and choose the most outrageous one to promise to your employees.
  • Car wash by management.

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.
  • Vikings vs. Packers – Set up two large change containers – one for the Vikings and one for the Packers. At the end of your campaign, whichever team has collected the most money wins a day in their honor. Fans and the CEO dress in team regalia.
  • Midnight Breakfast – If your organization has a third shift, organize a $3 breakfast to be served by executives who aren’t normally at work at that hour! Ask a United Way representative to join you, hand out pledge forms, and announce goals and timelines.
  • Bake Sale – Bakers can set up shop in the lunch room.
  • Car Wash – Hold a carwash as a special event and charge $2.
  • 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.
  • “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
  • SmartTown cards loaded with $5 (or more) – ask me!
  • Anything else you can think of that would appeal to your employees

9. Encourage Leadership Giving. Couples and individuals who give $500 or more become Partners in Caring Leadership Givers. There are four levels of leadership giving:

Track your Goals
When employees turn in their (completed!) pledge form, they can be automatically eligible to participate in fun activities such as:
Consider the following motivators if your workplace meets or exceeds its goals:
Special Events
Prize Ideas – Many businesses in town are happy to contribute small prizes for your employees. Also 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.

  • Bronze $500 – $999
  • Silver $1,000 – $2,499
  • Gold $2,500 – $4,999
  • Platinum $5,000 and up

If your organization has a number of people who are prospective leadership givers, you may want to conduct a separate leadership campaign. Recruit a well-respected member of senior staff or management to partner with you to identify potential donors and hold a separate meeting for these individuals. We can help you with this.

Remind potential donors that it’s easier than they might think to give at the leadership level. For example, one spouse gets paid twice a month (24 pay checks), and the other spouse gets paid every other week (26 checks). If they each deduct $10 per pay period, their total gift is $500, which is a leadership-level gift.

10. Thank Everybody and Celebrate your success. Thank everyone, whether or not they chose to give this year.
Try to personally hand out pledge forms – don’t simply put them in with paychecks

  • 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.