The air is cooler, children are back in school and United Way is into its second month of our annual fundraising campaign!
This year’s campaign looks very different than in years past. United Way has a new Blueprint for Prosperity – a plan to reach our bold new vision of eradicating poverty in Southeast Louisiana. But in order to achieve our goals, we need buy-in from all members of our community, including those working at companies running employee fundraising campaigns.
Under the leadership of our incredibly dedicated Campaign Chair, Bob Kimbro, Office Managing Partner of Ernst & Young LLP, we have created a robust strategy to deepen engagement with the 800+ companies currently running United Way Campaigns, create new relationships with companies not currently supporting United Way, and have informative conversations with individuals not currently investing in United Way’s mission and vision.
Through these strategies, our amazing team of Resource Development team members has already seen success in creating more robust campaigns with the companies who have already kicked off their fundraising efforts for the year. Some of those companies include St. Bernard Parish Government, UPS, North Oaks Health System, Jefferson Parish Schools, Centerpoint Energy, Mississippi River Bank, LOOP LLC and LaPorte CPAs.
Our top priority, whenever we partner with organizations running a United Way campaign, is to speak to as many employees as possible and educate them about the work we are doing to eradicate poverty, as well as about the thousands of resources that are available to them, their co-workers, family members, neighbors and friends. In addition, we have so many ways for individuals to have personalized community engagement through United Way. Some suggestions for companies wanting to enhance their campaigns are listed below.
Allow us the opportunity to introduce the head of your company to our President & CEO, Michael Williamson, so can share his first-hand experience leading the creation of our Blueprint, and explaining why it is so important to the business community, and the community as a whole.
Hold a meeting with Managers or Team Leaders, where our Resource Development staff can share information about our Blueprint and the need for unrestricted support of the work, and then your Managers and Team Leaders can share this information with their employees.
Invite the female members of your staff to hear a presentation about our Women’s Leadership Council, a group of dedicated women who invest their time, talent and treasure annually to ensure the stability and success of women and children throughout our region.
Let United Way’s HandsOn Volunteer Center create a customized volunteer project for your staff, either out in the community or in the comfort of your office.
Encourage your new professionals to learn more about United Way’s Young Leaders Movement, a budding group of individuals that taking part in mentorship opportunities for themselves, and discovering how to be mentors for others.
Ask for a presentation from one of United Way’s dynamic and devoted volunteers who have agreed to serve on our Speakers Bureau and can share their story of why they support United Way.
Create incentives for your team members that are giving at a Fair Share (1% of Salary) level – whether it’s a “Blue Jeans” or “Black-and-Gold” dress-down day, an extra vacation day, or an opportunity to have one-on-one time with the head of the company!
Attend one of United Way’s many Advocacy events. United Way is able to leverage every dollar invested in our organization through policy change that we are able to advocate for, such as the Earned Income and School Readiness Tax Credits, or statewide funding of Head Start and Early Head Start programs and the 2-1-1 health and human service referral line.
Let United Way share information about the large amount of programs that all residents of Southeast Louisiana should utilize, such as 2-1-1, the FamilyWize prescription discount program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or our Individual Development Account (IDA) program.
Hold a special event that is fun for all employees, and an easy way for each employee to make a small contribution to the cause. Companies have held jambalaya cook-offs, tailgate parties, golf tournaments, 50/50 raffles, costume contests and MORE. Be sure to keep the FUN in FUNDRAISING!
We are thrilled to recognize the Top Five Companies in our region that have gone above and beyond to help us reach our fundraising goal through last year’s campaign. To learn more about what they did to Live United, please visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Snap.
If you currently work at a company running a United Way campaign, and would like to get more involved, please email me directly at LeighT@unitedwaysela.org. And if your business is not engaged with United Way, we would love to speak with you and your co-workers about our work. Our community will never reach its full potential without everyone working together to construct the future of Southeast Louisiana.
We thank you for your support!
Leigh M. Thorpe
Vice President, Resource Development and Marketing