At United Way, we unite individuals and organizations to solve our community’s biggest problems. Each year, we’re invited into nearly 200 local workplaces to craft unique engagement plans for how to give back in a meaningful way. Through the power of generosity, we are able to distribute millions of dollars back into the Greater Chattanooga community each year because of workplace giving. Each campaign season, our mission is to work alongside community-driven organizations to make every workplace giving relationship unique to their corporate social responsibility goals.
We had the opportunity to sit down with our Director of Development Operations, Carl Rohsenberger, and Director of Workforce Engagement, Tony Doyley, for a Q&A based conversation to discuss what campaign is and how it ultimately serves our community.
Q: What does United Way of Greater Chattanooga mean when we refer to “campaign”?
A: Campaign season is focused engagement at a certain point in time during the year. By engagement we mean giving of time, talent and treasure.
At United Way of Greater Chattanooga, we are constantly thinking about community issues and how we can take action to solve them. Companies are working on their own businesses and strategic initiatives, so they prefer to focus their engagement during a specific time period in order to support community investments and impact. A workplace campaign is the way that company leadership collaborates with their employees to engage in volunteerism and philanthropic fundraising, in alignment with their Corporate Social Responsibility goals (CSR). For example, if they have a strong commitment to education, this is where they could focus their engagement. We are here to cultivate meaningful relationships that are founded in encouragement to champion our workplace partners, because our community needs exist in all areas.
Q: So we run a big number of smaller campaigns with corporate partners during the larger “campaign season”. How many workplace campaigns do we run?
A: In 2020, we ran 176 workplace campaigns during the larger season.
Q: Who manages these campaigns?
A: Our Relationship Managers are consultants that advise company partners on achieving their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals. The Relationship Managers help guide our corporate partners in running their own campaign – including strategy, structure and execution.
Q: How does a campaign actually work? What does it involve?
A: Our company partners offer their employees opportunities to engage with their local community by giving of their time, talent and treasure. Our Relationship Managers meet with company partners to ensure they have what they need to run a campaign as well as a meaningful year-round engagement opportunity.
Some company partners run short campaigns (two weeks long) and some run longer campaigns (2 months long). It all depends on their unique company culture. Campaigns also present opportunities for team and culture building, which makes them attractive to our company partners.
For those wanting to give back to the community where your customers do business, where your employees reside and where your children go to school we invite you to learn more here.
Q: Do we engage with our corporate partners outside of “campaign season”?
A: Yes – one of our main goals is to stay engaged throughout the year.
We recently remodeled our engagement strategy around the term “iGave”. iGave can be broken down like this: true engagement (E) involves volunteerism (V), advocacy (A) and generosity (G), and these things lead to impact (I). This model encourages donors within our corporate partners to become more active in our local community year-round, not just during their campaign.
We encourage companies to send passionate employees as ‘generosity stewards’ to get involved in community impact – we have a number of opportunities to work closely with United Way in a first-hand role.
Q: If part of the goal is year-round engagement and to cultivate a relationship with loyal supporters, why do we need campaign?
A: The funds that we raise within our campaign drive the work that creates community impact. If we don’t raise these funds, the transformational work that we do cannot happen – campaign is our major fundraising strategy. The funds drive the work, which in turn encourages further engagement, which drives people to generosity.
Company partners want to know what their engagement is doing in the community. Campaign also presents us with an opportunity to present on community investments. The collaboration between UWGC, corporate and nonprofit partners creates innovative solutions to address community issues on a large scale.
Q: Where does the money go?
A: The money goes straight back into our community. through our data-driven, community impact strategy, we invest in community nonprofits to support impact in the areas of education, stability and health and wellbeing.
Ready to get involved in a workplace campaign yourself? Starting a campaign begins with a conversation. Our goal is to build philanthropy around you by understanding your company’s philanthropic vision and CSR goals.