SETTING YOUR CAMPAIGN UP FOR SUCCESS
By leading your company’s workplace campaign, you join a passionate group of change-seekers and trailblazers creating lasting change in Buffalo & Erie County. You are an influential frontline volunteer who raises awareness about the vital role United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) plays in the community and helps your company reach its philanthropic and community engagement goals. Together with passionate supporters like you, we’re leading the fight to rebuild an equitable and more resilient Buffalo & Erie County.
United Way is ready to support you with the tools and resources you need to succeed. This guide serves as an outline for an easy and effective workplace campaign. Remember, you can contact your United Way account executive anytime for additional assistance. Don’t have a United Way account executive? Contact us using the button below.
One to three months prior to your campaign.
BUILD YOUR TEAM
Reach out to all parts of your organization to recruit people to help distribute campaign messaging across each department or team.
Secure the support of your organization’s leadership.
Enlist union representatives and encourage their support (where applicable).
- Work with your United Way Account Executive to review campaign history and identify successes, challenges, and areas for growth.
- Set campaign dates. Allow plenty of time to create strategic messaging and to get your online donation portal set up (where applicable).
- Set a campaign goal that your campaign team and employees can rally behind.
- Set your employees up to pledge. United Way offers easy, secure virtual giving through ePledge, among other options.
- Consider the best combination of ways to reach employees.
- Build a communication timeline and set key points for distributing company-wide messaging, i.e. announcement of the campaign, launch day, mid-campaign, final push, and thank you. Work with your account executive to create a communication schedule that will keep the campaign top of mind without overwhelming your employees.
- View our Campaign Materials for sample messaging, images, videos, downloads, and other materials that you can integrate into your communications.
Most campaigns run for one to four weeks, but larger or multi-site organizations may run longer.
LAUNCH YOUR CAMPAIGN
- Use your planned messaging to launch your campaign and begin pledging.
- Send messaging throughout the campaign on a company-wide level using a variety of communication methods.
- Promote any corporate match, corporate gifts, or other incentives to increase contributions.
- Keep the momentum going by celebrating daily wins and keeping the progress of the campaign at the top of all communication.
- Utilize the campaign team members to keep the campaign top of mind on team conference calls or personal ask emails. Conduct regular calls with the team leaders to discuss strategies and needs for their team.
The best thing you can do is ask. Almost universally, people have a desire to help other people. United Way is in business because people need help, and also because people want to help. Even a small amount each week can give an employee a sense of belonging to a larger community — of making a difference.
PROVIDE INSPIRING EXPERIENCES
- Bring in a United Way speaker or share a video from our UWBEC video library to help employees understand the impact of their contributions.
- Participate in The ALICE Experience, a virtual simulation that will challenge your understanding of financial hardship and reveal important insights about the often invisible needs in our community. Click here to request a simulation.
- Encourage friendly competition, and have fun! Use rivalries to encourage participation challenges between teams. Visit Campaign Central for themes, special events, and incentive ideas. In the end, the community wins!
United Way is here to support and engage your employees year-round. Ongoing community involvement can help attract, engage, and retain high-performing employees and improve employee satisfaction.
- Thank your campaign team.
- Consider sending a thank you note to the entire company, and/or recruit a member of your leadership team to send out a thank you.
- Celebrate your success! Publicize results and reiterate the impact of gifts via your company newsletter, email or intranet, or at an end-of-campaign celebration event.
ANALYZE AND IMPROVE
- Finalize campaign results. Submit payroll deduction information to your HR or payroll processing department.
- Take time to debrief with your team and your Account Executive, capturing best practices and opportunities for improvement next year.
- Remember that United Way Giving Communities are a way for employees to extend their impact and deepen their engagement with our work. Based on their giving level, employees can join Leadership Society, Women United, or Next Generation United and take part in meaningful, year-round events, volunteer opportunities, and engagement.
- Encourage employees to participate in volunteer opportunities on their own, or as a company. Access volunteer opportunities anytime at VolunteerWNY.org.
- United Way can also help you and your employees grow their leadership skills. Opportunities exist to participate in our annual Board Leadership Training, serve on a Giving Community Advisory Board, help guide United Way’s funding decisions as an investment volunteer, and more. Talk to your Account Executive about getting involved in these ways.
Q: HOW LONG SHOULD OUR WORKPLACE GIVING CAMPAIGN RUN?
A: The typical campaign runs for about two to four weeks, though some larger organizations or those with multiple sites may hold a longer campaign. Work with your account executive plan a time period that is sufficient to kick off your campaign, get the message out effectively and make your ask without overburdening you, your campaign team, and your employees.
Q: WHEN SHOULD OUR GIVING CAMPAIGN RUN?
A: Most campaigns take place from August to November, but they can happen at a time that is best suited for your organization.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SET UP EPLEDGE?
A: Your ePledge site takes approximately 2-3 weeks to set up (shorter for self-registration.) Learn more about ePledge here.
Q: WHEN DOES PAYROLL DEDUCTION START?
A: Payroll deduction usually runs from January 1 – December 31. However, United Way does not set your payroll schedule; it is your company’s decision.
Q: IS UNITED WAY OF BUFFALO & ERIE COUNTY A LOCAL ORGANIZATION?
A: Yes. We are one of 1,400 community-based United Ways across the country. Each is separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers. Contributions raised in Erie County stay here, and decisions about which programs to invest in and which partnerships to pursue are made here in our local community. UWBEC Investment Volunteers help inform the decision process by evaluating applications from potential grantees and making funding recommendations in order to address community needs.
Q: ARE DONATIONS TO UNITED WAY TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
A: Yes. This year, up to $300 of your donation may be tax-deductible, even if you don't usually itemize. The new charitable deduction allows most Americans to deduct donations to charities from their taxes when filing for 2020. Please, donate to United Way of Buffalo & Erie County today. For additional information, please visit https://www.uwbec.org/donor-policies.
Q: CAN EMPLOYEES DESIGNATE THEIR DONATION?
A: As a service to donors, we make it possible to specify a non-profit program to receive your donation. However, undesignated gifts make the biggest impact in our local community. Effective Campaign Year 2020, we have a modest cost-recovery charge of 5% on donor-designated contributions to partially offset the cost of running and processing a charitable giving campaign. For additional information, please visit https://www.uwbec.org/donor-policies.
Q: HOW MUCH IS USED FOR OVERHEAD COSTS?
A: The United Way, like every other not-for-profit and for-profit organization, has functional expenses associated with its operations. For our fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, these expenses amounted to 15.66% of our revenues, which include pledges to the annual campaign. For additional information, please visit https://www.uwbec.org/donor-policies.
Q: HOW IS UNITED WAY ACCOUNTABLE?
A: United Way’s own operating budget is audited by an independent accounting firm and is carefully scrutinized by the Finance Committee of United Way’s Board of Directors. They approve the budget annually and receive regular financial reports. For additional information, please visit https://www.uwbec.org/financials.
Q: I HAVE A QUESTION THAT IS NOT ANSWERED HERE.
A: Your United Way Account Executive is a great resource and will be happy to help answer any additional questions. If you do not yet have a United Way Account Executive, contact us.
Thank you again for your time, talent, and leadership of your organization’s United Way campaign. We are in this together, and it’s the strength of our community partners that drives real change. We hope this guide will provide you with the necessary resources to run your campaign. Please reach out to your United Way Account Executive for additional support and guidance throughout your campaign.