Can Events and Incentives Do For My Campaign?
enthusiasm and participation
employees to pledge promptly
attendance at campaign meetings
Special Event Ideas
events are your opportunity to add a little something extra to the
Not only do they raise extra funding for United Way, but they can
be instrumental in team development and great for company spirit.
Use this as an opportunity to further educate your employees about
United Way and most importantly, have FUN!!
And remember, not every special event has to be elaborate.
should be strategically scheduled throughout the year to be most
successful and build awareness
it easy for employees to participate
the support of upper management
a team in the planning and implementation process
when planning special events, please stress that the support of the
activities is in addition to the individual campaign pledge.
are some other fun event ideas
grams are sent to co-workers in the office on an ordinary day or in
connection with a holiday such as Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween, May
grams consist of little notes with words of thanks, recognition, or good
wishes. Along with the note include a bag of candy, a Mylar balloon or
examples include: jelly beans for Easter, Hershey Hugs for Valentines Day,
rocks for a 70’s theme, candy corn for Halloween.
pre-orders for one week in the break-room. Write down the names of the
sender and receiver so they can be delivered at a later date. Notes can be
computer printed generic messages, or at time of purchase, purchaser can
hand write a note of appreciation.
costs of set-up. Set a sale price for the Bar-B-Q. Pre-sell tickets to the
event. The event may also be set up as a potluck picnic with everyone
bringing a dish to share.
that need to be purchased include: paper products, meat and fixings, buns,
beverages, grill, lawn chairs, tables. Set-up outside. You may wish to
include a volleyball net, Frisbee, music, etc. as time and space allow.
or store bought items are brought in such as: cookies, pies, muffins,
bars, cupcakes, fudge, and candy. Arrange baked items on a table to be
seen throughout the day. This is a single-day event; chance ticket sales
($0.25 a piece) begin that morning. Chances may be sold at the reception
desk, in the lunchroom, and during lunch. Committee members draw names of
winners at the end of the day and deliver items to the winners.
Friday, employees have the opportunity to purchase coupons for a Jeans Day
or Casual Wear Day for the following workweek. Cost is $1 for one day of
casual attire or $4 for a week’s worth of casual days. Give stickers to
employees to wear. Your United Way contact
person can provide Jeans Day stickers for you that say 'Jeans Day
for United Way' — just ask! This publicizes the campaign among co-workers and offers
customers an explanation for the casual attire.
bring in a pot of their favorite chili on the day of the contest.
Employees pay a fee to taste the varieties of chili.
They vote for the best chili and the winner is proclaimed the
“Chili King” and the proceeds go to United Way.
bakeries for cookie bids. Determine the cost and selling price. (Charge
$0.75 more per dozen than the cost.) Check to be sure the bakery will
package in dozens, if not the committee will need to package. Have sign-up
sheet to take preorders.
hints: they make great gifts, saves time from baking and buying at a
store. Order, then have committee pick-up cookies in the morning and
deliver treats to work.
the craft sale ahead of time in the company newsletter, bulletin board,
email enabling participants time to make (or buy) crafts. Place items on a
display table, each with its own jar to place purchased chances. Employees
purchase chances, fill out name and place it in a jar corresponding to the
item they desire (example: $0.25 each or 5 for $1.00). Run the sale for a
week, allowing employees to check each day on their odds by looking at the
number of tickets in the jars. At the end of the week, the Committee draws
names and delivers the items to winners.
Look for the
“diamonds” in your company. Diamond Donors are folks that have contributed to United Way
for 25 years or more. The
company and their employees will be publicly recognized and the
“diamonds” will be invited to special events.
a team of car-washers (consider involving managers) and determine shifts.
Team members bring sponges, rags, soap, buckets, hoses, radio, etc.
on day of event. Set up wash site in employee parking lot. Wash tickets
may be purchased in advance ($3-$5) or simply recruit cars on wash day.
Car washers get keys from co-workers, pick up vehicle and bring to the
wash site to be cleaned. Return washed cars to parking places. Workers
never have to leave the office! Another option is to set aside a reserved
parking area for employees to park in the morning, leaving keys in the car
to be moved if necessary.
employees to bring in their favorite recipes from home. Research
publishing companies to print the collected recipes in a book format, or
do it in-house. Plan on a two to six month time period for the preparation
and printing of the project.
pre-orders after determining price per copy with the publishing company.
Profit earned from the sale can be added to the United Way donation
from your company. Order extra books for last minute shoppers. (Those who
have done this always run out!)
of executives are challenged to face off in events ranging from eating
food blindfolded to picking items out of jars full of worms.
the Baby Photo Contest
bring in a favorite baby picture, writing their name on the backside.
Pictures are numbered and posted on a bulletin board. Employees
purchase a chance to match co-workers with baby pictures. When purchasing
a chance, give purchaser a numbered sheet with blanks to write their
guesses. Have them put their own name at the top and turn in. Employee
with the greatest number correct wins a prize! Remember to have more than
ten prizes on hand in the event of a tie.
indoor event is great for swinging away those winter blues! To make the
event a contest, have each department design a creative hole using only
materials already in their department. Examples include: wastebaskets,
letter trays, reams of paper, machine parts, etc. If possible include a
shot from the roof.
employee committee rounds up some clubs and staffs the course during the
lunch hour for the week of the campaign. Employees play the course as
often as they like for a small fee. The CEO serves as the pro, challenging
the employee with the winning score to a sudden death playoff on the final
day of mini golf. Prizes are
awarded to the department with the most creative hole and to the best mini
Kiss Our Community
Purchase a large helium balloon in the shape of kissing lips and
attach the balloon to a gift wrapped brick. Lay this 'kiss' on the desk
of one of your co-workers and let the fun begin. Each person that gets
'kissed' will need to make a donation to your cause. For example, they
could donate $1 to remove the kiss from their office and return to the
coordinator; donate $2 to remove the kiss and THEY get to choose the
next person to kiss; a $3 donation allows someone to steal the kiss from
the current victim and choose the next person to kiss; a $25.00 donation
means they will never be 'kissed' again. Those who have donated $25 will
get a notice on their door/desk so everyone is aware of who is still
kissable. Be sure to put a time limit on moving the kiss so it will not
sit on one desk too long.
the Race Begin
this auto-racing theme, create a large goal poster that looks like an
Indy racetrack to set the pace of your campaign race. Use Velcro cars
to measure progress along the track as the company moves closer to the
finish of the campaign.
main room with race flags, jerseys and auto racing posters.
your own auto race with radio-controlled cars in the parking lot.
is Not a Spectator Sport - Go the Distance
the start of the campaign, hold a kick-off meeting explaining
touchdowns (accomplishments of previous years), penalties and
receptions (areas needing improvement), and huddles (ideas for the
launch the campaign, hold a tailgate party in the parking lot or at a
park. Arrange to have the
party at the same time as a local softball or baseball game and cheer
on your home team.
the campaign hold sport fundraisers such as a slam dunk/shootout
contest, volleyball tournament, football toss, etc. Aeros, Browns,
Indians or Cavs tickets or tickets for other local teams make great
This quiz can be completed at workstations & returned to an
appointed person to tally the scores. You can match the actor/actress with
the movie, match the quote with the movie, or combine. The highest score
wins a prize. In case of a tie, a drawing will be held. Winners can be
announced at a group lunch at the close of the campaign.
Buy or have donated an artificial tree, which can be stored and used
Employees bring in ornaments either purchased or handmade to hang
on the tree.
Tree may be kept up and ornaments collected for the entire
After all ornaments are collected, most valuable ornaments are
selected to be raffled first, giving all a fair chance at high valued
ornaments (Hallmark Keepsakes, Precious Moments, etc.) Employees purchase
chances for the ornament raffle (example: $0.25 or 5 for $1.00) and names
of the Caribbean
For those who don’t want to grow up like Peter Pan, this event will
be a lot of fun.
Decorate meeting room or lunchroom with cut out palm trees,
starfish, waves, etc. Bring in shells and fishnets to add to the decor.
Bring in a chest with a key that will be your treasure chest, fill it with
secret prizes. Otherwise make a treasure chest out of a large cardboard
box with gold and silver foil pasted on the outside.
purchase a key (either real or cut-out cardboard keys) from a volunteer
dressed in a pirate costume. Cutout keys are numbered and the winner of
the treasure chest is determined by a drawing. Real keys are tried in the
lock, the winner being the person with the actual chest key. Make a
treasure map and mount it on the wall. The display shows the progress
toward campaign goal with a pirate ship crossing an ocean, in search of
desert islands, with an “X” to mark the spot (goal).
employees bring a hot-dish, appetizer, salad, side, dessert, etc. to be
shared. Paper products are also needed for this event. There is no sign-up
for this event. Items brought in are completely random. Employees pay $5
to fill their plate and sample everything in the room. If your company has
their own cookbook, the theme could be A Potpourri of Company Recipes.
Participants must make a dish out of the employee cookbook.
The Price is Right
Let employees guess the “retail value” of services provided by United
Way’s Affiliated Agencies. The one who guesses closest without going
over gets to come on down to play a game based on the classic Price is
Right game show.
Employees form teams
and create their own unique design using pumpkins.
The pumpkins are displayed in the company cafeteria and employees
vote for their favorite pumpkin by placing money in that team’s
container. The winning team
is awarded a prize pack containing gift certificates and other goodies.
Yourself in Their Shoes
the wearing of crazy/funky shoes the week of the campaign.
Hold a campaign kick-off lunch with foot-long hot dogs, Shoestring
taters, Corn chips, SOFT SHOE drinks and SOLE music (Blue Suede Shoes,
These Boots Were Made for Walking). To start the campaign and to get
across the meaning of the theme, host guest speakers from United Way
funded agencies, or have guest speakers from within the company, speakers
relate their experiences with United Way and personally ask people to put
yourself in my shoes. Keep track of fundraising progress with a poster
board designed with a track and moveable (Velcro, magnetic board, etc.)
racing shoes that come closer to the finish as the
evolves. Hand out thank yous at the end of the campaign, tied with
for the Goal
together the title with an Olympic theme. The company wins the gold medal
when the campaign goal is reached. Create a poster with a bronze, silver
and gold medal goal. The Opening Ceremonies are the kick-off to the
campaign, explaining the goal and theme.
passing of the torch from last year’s campaign chair to the new
a mini-Olympics with employees forming teams of three or more. Events
include hula-hoop relay, tricycle race, basketball dribble, tug-of-war,
100-yard dash, mile relay, and sack race. Winter Olympic events include
cross-country ski relay, the luge (fastest sled), tug-of-war in the snow,
best snow sculpture, team members push-pull each other in a sled race and
snow football. Charge an entry fee for teams, offering prizes for the
winning team along with souvenir gold medals.
Conclude the Olympic campaign with an awards ceremony, awarding
Olympic winners as well as all employees for their campaign efforts.
Beer Float Sales
donations or purchase root beer and vanilla ice cream. Other items needed
include straws, spoons, cups, and ice cream scoopers. Have committee
schedule work shifts. This popular event works well during lunch and
breaks in the summertime. Remember a freezer will be needed to store the
ice cream if the event is held all day.
the Boss’s Head
attempt to reach company goal. If they succeed or exceed the goal, boss
agrees to shave off his or her hair (heads of hair or mustaches and beards
for men). Create a chart to keep track of set company campaign goal. Have
a photo image or drawing of boss without hair at the top, displaying
result of reaching goal, or show progress posters with the slow removal of
hair, as the employees get closer to the goal. Employees who make
contributions are given the opportunity to vote on whether or not the CEO
will have to shave. Host a celebration party with the boss shaving his or
her head/mustache/beard at the event.
& Dessert Cart
items; several carts travel around the building in the morning and
afternoon and offer treats at a minimal cost.
A new twist on the traditional bake sale.
teams each with of three to four riders. Teams are named and publicized in
advance, allowing employees to make pledges or bets on the winning team.
Team members ride large tricycles (rent or arrange to borrow from a
cooperating store) through a predetermined course through the office.
Possibilities include: through hallways, lunch/break rooms, around
cubicles, chairs, and in and out of offices. Have course marked with signs
or tape on the floor. Fans are able to watch and cheer from different
areas around the office.
race is designed as a relay. Team members may pass off a flag, pinwheel,
teddy bear or similar item to their succeeding team member. Remember to
take pictures for the company bulletin board or newsletter!
5 - 10 answers about United Way, the agencies, etc., on a board. Make up
play cards/answer sheets and have the employees write down the questions
& drop them in the box.
several puzzles related to United Way, such as the campaign chair,
agencies, theme for that year, etc., (give them vowels for free) and have
employees write down their guesses & drop them in the box.
a statement from the campaign materials like: United Way agencies that
support Older People. Have the employees list the agencies on a sheet
(assign equal points to them).
Make A Deal
around the office and ask random United Way-related questions to
employees. If they get the
answer right, give them a prize on the spot. (Works well if you can get
the President to go along with you to hand out the prize.)
Wants To Be A Millionaire
the list of donors, draw out names randomly to be the contestants. Ask
them to name three United Way agencies that help kids (or elderly,
families, etc.) Whoever writes them down the fastest and raises the paper
in the air gets to play first. Using the United Way brochure or website,
put together some questions about United Way and the agencies for the
contestant. (Call the United Way office for help if you need.) Use play
money for prizes.
Bad taste – Executive
team members wear their ugliest ties, jewelry, shoes or hats.
Employees vote for the ugliest item, paying $1 per vote.
The executive with the most votes at day’s end is declared the
winner and may be awarded a prize.
Contest – Employees
are encouraged to dress up like famous personalities. Co-workers then pay
to vote on the best costume with the contestant receiving the most votes
winning a prize.
Dinner - Host
spaghetti feed and charge for each bowl.
Penny Jar – Each
department is designated a jar. Employees
are encouraged to fill their own department’s jar with pennies, each
equaling one point. Opposing
departments may then add other coins to their jars that are equal to their
value only negative (ex: A dime is minus 10 points).
The department with the most positive points at the end of the week
is awarded a prize.
– have an interdepartmental competition.
Each team pays a fee for entry with the winning team winning a
an International Lunch
– Have employees bring ethnic dishes for a potluck.
Charge $5 per plate.
the Pig – Employees
vote through contributions to executive labeled piggy banks for the boss
who must kiss the pig.
Trophy – Companies
with multiple locations have found that using a traveling trophy generates
friendly competition and is a great sign of pride for the location.
Trophies may be used for any number of contests including location
with the highest participation, raising the most special event dollars,
Auction - Simply
gather items and create bid sheets, being certain to provide a minimum bid
for each item.
the Boss - Boss wears
a costume voted on by all employees if the campaign goal is reached.
Examples: tutu, animal costume, devil costume, etc.
How Many - Guess the
number of jellybeans, M&Ms, pennies or other items in a jar. Buy
chances to guess. Closest guess receives a prize.
Ball Sales - Collect
old golf balls to clean and shine. Employees purchase golf balls (5 for
$1.00) during lunch or breaks.
Goods - Turn in
recycled paper, cans, bottles, etc. and exchange them for money for the
Lunches - Add fun to
campaign week by hosting a theme lunch such as 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s,
holiday themes, TV shows, sports, Renaissance, etc.
Cart - Wheel a cart of
bagels, doughnuts, Danishes, coffee and juice through the office,
collecting United Way donations in exchange for the goodies.
Cooks for You - Have a
special breakfast at which top managers cook for all donors.
of Fame - Put pictures
on a wall recognizing employees who have been contributing for the most
Coupons - Give
everyone who attends campaign meetings a buck coupon that can be redeemed
in the company cafeteria or company store.
Desserts - Campaign
committee furnishes the main dish but sells desserts for $1.50 more with
proceeds going to United Way.
Photo Contest -
Employees submit photographs taken at campaign and celebration events.
Photos are displayed on a bulletin board and judged by committee, with the
best photo receiving prizes such as a new camera, free film developing,
photo album, camera carrying case and film.
Egg Raffle - Fill
plastic Easter eggs with raffle numbers. People buy eggs or “chances”
for springtime prizes such as Easter lilies and gift baskets.
Fight - Divide into
two or more teams and elect captains. Team members collect money and turn
in to captain. Team raising the most money is awarded a pizza/sub party,
which they may verbally throw into their competitor’s faces.
- Give all who donate
a button stating, “ I gave to United Way.”
Sale - Find a
volunteer willing to loan garage space or use work site after hours. Two
or three weeks before the sale, employees bring in sale items which
volunteers price and sell day of event. Advertise within the company and
Time - Hold a
broomball, softball, tee-ball, kickball, racquetball, tennis, walleyball
or ping-pong tournament.
Contest - Hold a
contest to determine who has the best and worst karaoke talent. Coworkers
may buy votes ahead of time to elect the “Star of the Show” who will
sing the first song. Charge an entrance fee for the show.
And Bail - Hold in
correlation with an employee picnic or carnival. Have a “Catch and Cuff
‘Em” Jail booth where employees pay to have co-workers, supervisors,
managers or executives incarcerated for short periods during the event.
Tees - Design a
T-shirt with your company logo joined with the United Way logo to give to
contributing employees who “team up” in the United Way effort.
Contest - Employees
develop in-house campaign slogans/themes. The committee picks the top ten,
which are then voted on by the entire company, the winner receiving an
West - Employees dress
in cowboy/cowgirl attire. Works well with a BBQ or chili cook-off.
- Have employees cast
ballot for which members of the Executive Team should dress up like which
characters in the musical Grease (or any other popular movie / play). Have
them stand in front of the assembly of employees and let employees pick
the best look-alike by loudness of applause. Charge them $1 per vote, with
proceeds going to United Way.
You - Thank employees
in newsletters through e-mail with a special brunch or dinner payroll
stuffer message of thanks personalized letters from the President at staff
meetings with thank you mugs handed out by the CEO by hosting a United Way
agency representative at a staff meeting who brings personal thank you
greetings with thank you cards attached with heart pins (for “opening
their hearts” or “having hearts of gold”) personal phone calls made
by President or board members thank you posters that include the names of
all donors (consider posting in public places) or an announcement on the
local cable television station newspaper ads that recognize all donors by
name thank you
flyers on cars.
for an extra special Thanks - Hold an unexpected early morning meeting to
say thank you and surprise employees by giving them the rest of the day
off. Or have President or committee members treat each donor individually
what some of our local companies did for their United Way campaigns.
ACME Fresh Markets
In the spirit of raising more campaign dollars, ACME Fresh Markets had a store-to-store competition in terms of
their United Way campaign. The winning store will have a drawing where
three individuals will win a pair of tickets each to Cedar Point along
with $50 cash.
their campaign with a month of great events. There was an
interdepartmental contest to see who could collect the most pennies.
Unfortunately, you could sabotage the other teams by adding to their jar,
any currency that is not a penny. The total of silver change and bills was
then subtracted from that team’s total. They held a “closest to the
pin” golf challenge, and chili cook-off judged by United Way of
Summit County’s own President, Bob Kulinski. The month was wrapped up
with the first annual ASC Industries Hotdog Eating contest. Seven of
ASC’s finest took up the challenge to see how many dogs they could down
in 15 minutes. A rowdy crowd packed the ASC gymnasium to “vote” for
the winners with dollars and cheer their favorite to victory.
B&W generates employee participation with some unique ideas. All
donors that give at $5 per pay or a one- time gift of $120 receive a candy
jar that gets filled up throughout the year to remind donors that
“Giving Has Sweet Rewards”. They also celebrate United Way Wednesdays
throughout the length of their campaign. Each Wednesday, every employee
receives a surprise to draw attention to the United Way campaign. The last
Wednesday, everyone gets to celebrate “Sundae on a Wednesday” with ice
cream sundaes in the cafeteria. There is also a parking space auction
where people can bid for spaces close to the entrances, something that is
a big help in the Ohio winter!
To add excitement to the campaign Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
has an all employee picnic complete with Chop Stick demonstrations for
international flair, corn hole competitions and the famous softball game
at Firestone Stadium pitting the senior players against the under 30
group, this challenge was won last year by the seniors "the Stone
Because employees use i-Pledge for contributions, department meetings
are held to inform employees about community needs and the good being
done with their gifts. To add to the coffers when employees forget their
key cards and the receptionist has to buzz them in the door she charges
them $1 and the funds go toward their United Way special events.
ExxonMobil Chemical selects a theme and plans a week of exciting events for employees
– from reverse raffles and silent auctions to crock pot cookoffs –
they build momentum and excitement for participants.
First Communications’ campaign
committee builds enthusiasm for their campaign with two surefire
methods: incentives and food. The company generously brought in lunch
for all the employees as part of their campaign kickoff. During the
luncheon, speakers from United Way and one of our affiliated agencies
spoke about the impact United Way of Summit County has in our community.
After the luncheon, employees were given the opportunity to view the
items that were to be raffled off as incentives. First Communications
put a unique twist on the drawing: employees received one raffle ticket
for each dollar they pledged upon collection of their pledge form. They
could then distribute them however they chose to take a chance at
winning the prize of their choice. This event helped build enough
excitement that the company surpassed it’s goal by more than $3,000!
Tire & Rubber Co.
large and engaged committee at Goodyear looks for new and exciting ways to
increase awareness of and contributions to United Way. This group
always seeks to put a ‘Goodyear spin’ on classic activities such as
drawings, bake sales, jeans days, game shows and company-wide office
Olympics, including office chair races. A ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’
poker tournament is held to benefit United Way.
Participants donate $20 to be included in the tournament with real
Ikon had a great time with
their campaign by holding fun special events for the employees to
participate in. A car wash and raffles helped get everyone involved while
raising money in support of United Way. Food proved to be a great
incentive as well. A pancake breakfast with employee volunteers as chefs,
as well as a chili cook-off, bake sale and ice cream social drew people in
and helped garner more contributions to Ikon’s campaign. Perhaps the
most creative event Ikon held was “Arrest a Coworker Day.” A jail cell
was put up in the lobby, complete with a volunteer sheriff and for a small
donation, employees could have an “arrest warrant” issued for an
alleged wrongdoer. Once rounded up by the sheriff, the accused could do
their time, or prove their innocence through a charitable gift to United
"Every Day for United Way" at Myers Industries Inc., where they
celebrated with a week of fun events during their campaign. The
series of low budget, fun events were designed to help raise awareness while
generating more money for the UW programs. "MonWay"
kicked off the week with a donut breakfast. TuesWay hosted snacks for sale
in the Exhibit Hall. WednesWay employees contributed baked goods, which
were sold throughout the day. ThursWay encouraged each department to pick
a theme, dress, decorate, and provide food accordingly to ask for
donations from coworkers in sampling the diverse meals. FriWay concluded
the week of fun filled events with the annual Chili Cook Off where pledge
cards were due and prizes were drawn. Each day offered numerous other
activities such as basketball contests, 50/50 raffle ticket sales, food,
food and lots of food!!
All associates at \/eyance Technologies were invited to take part In a
Corporate Challenge. Each floor organized a team to compete with the
other floors. The team with the most points won the Veyance Challenge
trophy as well as a $500 donation in their names to the United Way. The
event started with a lunch followed by the challenges which included
volleyball, cornhole, 3-legged race, basketball shootout, tug of war and
note about Incentives and Prizes
incentives or prizes are more effective than expensive items.
Many people may react negatively to the idea of a lavish
“reward” for giving to United Way.
It can seem inconsistent with the spirit of United Way so use your
A good place to start is with your vendors for incentives.
Your vendors may be able to provide gifts or loan merchandise.
It is a great way for a company’s vendors to show how much their
business is appreciated while it spreads awareness of United Way.
off of work
with the boss (out of office and the boss pays)
day (allowed to come in late)
with the boss
washed by boss or co-worker
1-hour early/come in 1 hour late
redecorated or cleaned — Trading Spaces
and car wash gift certificates