Each year, Lycoming County United Way hosts a Volunteer Appreciation event in honor of those who work hard to raise the necessary funds to provide for more than 30 human service agencies. It is important to take the time to recognize the 100s of individuals who care enough about the community to be a cheerleader for the campaign. Without the Loaned Executives; board and campaign cabinet members; special event volunteers; and in-house campaign managers, leading the campaign would not be possible. Although it is always a challenge for those who work one-on-one with employees at local businesses to garner enthusiasm through advocacy and education, there are a few in-house campaign managers who, this year, have made exceptional strides at their place of employment. While we appreciate the time devoted by all of the volunteers, we highlight one today, who has brought back the spirit of United Way in a new and exciting way and would like to share some of her thoughts on running a successful campaign.
Alyssa Rogers – Recruiting coordinator, Human Resources: Larson Design Group – recently completed her first year as an in-house campaign manager.
UW: How did you become involved with the United Way campaign?
AR: When I came on board to LDG in 2014, our CEO, Keith Kuzio, approached me about leading the United Way campaign. Being a recent graduate from Lycoming College, I was eager to get involved in sub-committees at LDG and increase my community involvement. It was believed that my enthusiastic personality would pair well with being the face of our campaign. While growing up I was taught the importance of stewardship from my parents, Ed and Amy Rogers, both of whom have been loyal contributors to LCUW. When presented the opportunity, I quickly accepted the challenge and honor to lead LDG’s campaign.
UW: What did the company do in the past to raise money for the campaign?
AR: Larson Design Group has always had a strong tradition of giving to the United Way. For several years, our employees have had the option to donate via payroll, as well as give through various in-house fundraisers such as a Chinese auction, Kiss the Pig Challenge, Bake Sales, etc.
UW: What types of things have you done this year to add excitement to the campaign?
AR: With having one year under my belt as LDG’s United Way campaign chair, I approached this year’s fundraising differently. My goal was to engage and educate our employees on the impact of their dollar, while adding excitement across the board. The first step to running a successful, engaging campaign is to call upon employee volunteers. Having 12 offices across five different states, we needed more United Way support presence throughout our offices, driving home the important message of ‘Live United.’ With a great group of volunteers, we were able to plan some exciting in-house fundraisers like our Dunk-O-Rama and Raffle Basket Fundraiser, which brought in over $3,500 in funds for the United Way. 50/50s were also a big hit during our campaign with a bonus challenge we added on. The office/department with the highest employee 50/50 participation won a pizza party. LDG employees love an inner department/office challenge, which, in turn, benefited the United Way. It wasn’t uncommon for the winner to donate their 50/50 winnings back to the United Way, as well!
UW: Can you name a few things that worked and some that didn’t work out so well?
AR: This year, we shortened our campaign length to a little over a month. In years past, our campaign would span across several months, spilling into the holiday season. After attending the United Way volunteer training, I decided to shorten the campaign after hearing success stories from other local companies. We ran our campaign for 33 days and successfully beat our goal! Within those 33 days, we campaigned hard, had enthusiastic energy, educated our employees and executed some spectacular in-house fundraisers. In four hours, we raised $1,400 dollars during a Dunk-O-Rama fundraiser. Eight employees took the plunge for the United Way. As our CEO said, “a splash in the tank is a small price to pay to help support the good programs that the United Way funds in our community.” Another success was the raffle basket fundraiser, bringing in over $2,100. Employees and outside community members took their chances on some amazing baskets donated by our LDG office/department employees. We tapped into our social media outlets, as well as resources at the LCUW office to help spread the word about our fundraiser, which helped generate more participation and money. I was simply in awe over our employees’ generosity in putting together great raffle baskets. It was fun for employees to utilize their break time to take their chance on winning some awesome prizes while benefiting the United Way. In year’s past, we did some simple bake sales and other smaller fundraisers that didn’t pan out as planned. From experience, we’ve learned that organized fundraisers on the larger scale are worth the time and investment to bring in more funds. Multiple small fundraisers can be time consuming and not be as financially rewarding as one or two well-executed larger ones.
UW: Why do you think this year’s campaign was or will be so successful?
AR: This year’s campaign was a success because of the employees at LDG. With the help from my great United Way committee volunteers, we were able to educate our employees on what a hard-earned dollar can do in their community. We made the campaign engaging and had all hands on deck. Whether it was tapping into our IT departments’ resources to allow the Dunk-O-Rama to be streamed live over a YouTube channel for our employees in other states to see, or connecting with multiple United Way agencies for promotional material to distribute, we have experienced the true meaning of ‘Live United.’ LDG employees continue to practice one of our core values of Stewardship through their commitment to their community.
UW: What is one thing that you did this year to increase contributions or dollars raised?
AR: We focused on educating our employees and providing goal status updates. With more than 60 new hires in 2015, we wanted to bring up to speed every new hire on LDG’s long history of giving. By providing status goal updates, it helped drive momentum throughout the campaign. Being an engineering, architecture and survey firm, it’s well noted that our employees love numbers. Breaking down the monetary goal figure by the number of employees and pay periods helped realistically paint a picture of what donation is needed to reach our goal and impact community programs.
UW: Why do you think it is important for local businesses to participate in the United Way campaign?
AR: I think it’s important for local businesses to participate in the campaign so workplaces can collaborate to tackle our community’s most difficult issues. No one person or organization can do it alone, but with leaders and businesses on board, we have the ability to make a stronger, more positive impact.
UW: What was your goal and how much was raised this year?
AR: LDG’s 2015/2016 goal was to raise $42,500 in employee contributions. We successfully raised $43,729 from employee contributions, with a total of $54,229, which includes our $10,500 company contribution.
For more information about LCUW, visit development.lcuw.org or call 570-323-9448.