Fun Event Ideas
Themed Food Day
Employees cook their favorite dishes and pay to eat – with proceeds going to United Way. Have a contest for the ‘Best Dish.’ Get a trophy at the Dollar Store and give the trophy to the winner.
- Chili or Soup Cook-Off
- Spaghetti Dinner
- International/Ethnic Food Day
- Side Dish Day
Homemade 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 and purchased throughout the day.
Christmas Cookie Sale
Call bakeries for cookie bids or make your own. Determine the cost and selling price. Have sign-up sheet to take preorders.
Participating employees bring a hot-dish, appetizer, salad, side, dessert, etc. to be shared. Paper products are also needed for this event. Employees pay to fill their plate and sample everything in the room.
Root Beer Float Sales
Seek donations or purchase root beer and vanilla ice cream. 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.
Snack & Dessert Cart
Employees donate 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.
Add fun to campaign week by hosting a theme lunch such as 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s, holiday themes, TV shows, sports, etc.
Top Managers Cook for Employees
Have top managers cook a special breakfast for all donors. Another way to demonstrate employee appreciation.
More Food Ideas
- Hot Dog Topping Bar
- Top Your Sundae Bar
- Baked Potato Bar
- Smoothie Bar
- Food Truck - Get a food truck to come on site (Swenson’s, Orange Truk, etc.) Some will donate a percentage back to the company.
“Fear Factor” Game
Group of executives are challenged to face off in events ranging from eating food blindfolded to picking items out of jars full of worms.
Identify the Baby Photo Contest
Employees 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!
Indoor Mini Golf
This 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. The 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. Prizes are awarded to the department with the most creative hole and to the best mini golfers.
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.
Let the Race Begin
For 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. Decorate main room with race flags, jerseys and racing posters. Hold your own auto race with radio-controlled cars in the parking lot.
Life is Not a Spectator Sport - Go the Distance
At 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 coming campaign). To 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 baseball game and cheer on your home team. Throughout the campaign hold sport fundraisers such as a slam dunk/shootout contest, volleyball tournament, football toss, etc. RubberDucks, Browns, Indians or Cavs tickets or tickets for other local teams make great prizes.
Movie Trivia Quiz
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.
The Price is Right
Let employees guess the “retail value” of services provided by United Way’s funded 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.
Pumpkin Decorating Contest
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.
Have 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.
Wheel Of Fortune
Have several puzzles related to United Way, such as the campaign chair, funded programs, theme for that year, etc.,
(give them vowels for free) and have employees write down their guesses & drop them in the box.
Using 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).
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
From 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 contest. (Call the United Way office if you need help.) Use play money for prizes.
In 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.
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.
Department 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 prize.
Kiss the Pig
Employees vote through contributions to executive labeled piggy banks for the boss who must kiss the pig.
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, etc.
Simply gather items and create bid sheets, being certain to provide a minimum bid for each item.
Dress-up the Boss
Boss wears a costume voted on by all employees if the campaign goal is reached. Examples: tutu, animal costume, devil costume, etc.
Guess 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.
Turn in recycled paper, cans, bottles, etc. and exchange them for money for the United Way.
Best 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, photo album, or a camera carrying case.
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.
Hold a broomball, softball, tee-ball, kickball, racquetball, tennis, volleyball or ping-pong tournament.
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.
Jail 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.
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 award.
Reach for the Goal
Tie 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. Symbolic passing of the torch from last year’s campaign chair to the new chairperson.
Hold 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.
Create 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. The 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!
5K Run or 1 Mile Walk
Plan a route and hold the event at lunchtime or after work. Charge $5 to participate.
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. Employees 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 is 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 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.
Ugly Holiday Sweater Party
Everyone dresses in their favorite ugly holiday sweater and the most ugly wins a prize.
OTHER GREAT IDEAS
Jeans Day/Casual Day
Sell Jeans Day stickers that allow employees to dress down. Your United Way contact person can provide stickers that say 'Jeans Day for United Way' — just ask!
Or print your own:
Jeans Day Stickers - these are set up to print on a 1.5" circle sticker.
Jeans Day Labels - these will fit a 5160 label
Jeans Day Cards/Passes - 4-up on a page
Advertise 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.
Employee Car Wash
Recruit 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!
Ask 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. Take 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.
Buy or have donated an artificial tree, which can be stored and used annually. Employees bring in ornaments either purchased or handmade to hang on the tree. Tree may be kept up and ornaments collected for the entire Christmas season. After all ornaments are collected, most valuable ornaments are selected to be raffled first, giving all a fair chance at high valued ornaments. Employees purchase chances for the ornament raffle and names are drawn.
Shave the Boss’s Head
Employees 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.
Book Sale or Rummage Sale
Two or three weeks before the sale, employees bring in sale items which volunteers price and sell day of event.
Easter Egg Raffle
Fill plastic Easter eggs with raffle numbers. People buy eggs or “chances” for prizes.
Wall of Fame
Put pictures on a wall recognizing employees who have been contributing for the most consecutive years.
Give everyone who attends campaign meetings a buck coupon that can be redeemed in the company cafeteria or company store.
Here’s 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 its 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.
ASC Industries kicked-off its 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. The company held a “closest to the pin” golf challenge, and chili cook-off. 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.
A. Schulman promotes year-round engagement that includes an International Food Festival in the summer where employees pay $10 for three entrees and also vote on their favorite dish. In the Spring the company hosts an ice cream social where employees make a donation to help themselves to the sundae bar.
Babcock and Wilcox
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.” The company also celebrates United Way Wednesdays throughout the length of its campaign. Each Wednesday, every employee receives a surprise to draw attention to the United Way campaign. On the last Wednesday, everyone gets to celebrate “Sundae on a Wednesday” with ice cream 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!
Bober Markey Fedorovich
Bober Markey Fedorovich holds a variety of campaign events and incentives including $50 for unlimited Friday Jeans Days; Pizza Wednesdays at $2 a slice; Dip Cook-off – $5 to try all dips and vote for the best; and a raffle for days off work at $10 per entry – and employees can win up to five days off.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
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’ team, "the Stone Wheels."
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 the company’s 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 cook offs – the company builds momentum and excitement for participants.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
The 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 poker-style ambiance.
Ikon Office Solutions
Ikon had a great time with its campaign by holding fun special events for the employees. 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 Way.
It was "Every Day for United Way" at Myers Industries Inc., where the company celebrated with a week of fun events during its 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. On “WednesWay,” employees contributed baked goods, which were sold throughout the day. On “ThursWay” departments are encouraged to pick a theme, dress, decorate, and provide food accordingly, and then department associates 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!!
Snap-On Business Solutions
Snap-On Business Solutions invited the Swenson's Food Truck to set-up in its parking lot. For each sale, Swenson's donated 50¢ to United Way. The company also hosted a raffle and silent auction with great prizes that included Cleveland Browns tickets, 40" Samsung flat screen TV and a $150 lottery ticket basket.
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 much more.
A note about Incentives and Prizes
Token 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 best judgment. 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.
Ideas for Incentives
1. Parking Place
2. Afternoon off of work
3. Lunch with the boss (out of office and the boss pays)
4. Movie/game/play tickets
5. Snooze day (allowed to come in late)
6. Golf with the boss
7. Car washed by boss or co-worker
8. Leave 1-hour early/come in 1 hour late
9. Office redecorated or cleaned — Trading Spaces
10. Gas and car wash gift certificates
11. Jeans on Fridays
12. Company promotional items