How Workplace Campaigns Unite Employees
Finding your passion and feeling a part of something is vital for fulfillment as you enter the workforce. For people across the region, participating in their workplace’s annual United Way campaign is a fun and rewarding way to connect with coworkers and neighbors by offering an opportunity to make a difference, engage in the community and build relationships with coworkers.
Last year, generous donors helped United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania raise $43.4 million and workplace campaigns accounted for $35.3 million of that total. Nearly 700,000 lives were changed thanks to those donations made to the Impact Fund.
While the numbers are impressive, the passion behind them is even more incredible. Below, six of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s very own employees share how workplace campaigns unite people in the office and their communities.
“I support Workplace Campaigns because I believe in the mission of United Way.”
– Adam Baron, Director of Workplace Campaigns
“I see the diverse needs in our community and am confident that the support United Way provides truly makes a difference for so many,” said Baron. “United Way provides many opportunities for donors, volunteers, and advocates to participate in meaningful changes in our community. The creative ways to become and stay engaged are endless.”
From chili cook-offs to karaoke competitions, workplaces around the region find fun and engaging ways to encourage employee participation. When workplaces pair creativity and compassion for the work, it makes a winning combination. Baron has plenty of experience witnessing that passion himself, “I see folks struggling where I live, where I work and everywhere in-between. I think everyone should have access to basic needs like food, shelter and transportation. Asking for help is not easy to do, my hope is that those in-need will reach out to our 211 hotline for support.”
“United Way is more than just a fundraising entity and more than just a funder of human services nonprofits.”
– Sally Ellwein, Director, Meeting Basic Needs
When you give to United Way’s Impact Fund through a workplace campaign, you help families and individuals meet basic needs like having food and shelter, move families and individuals toward financial stability and help youth build for success in school and life.
“Our Impact Fund provides support to non-profit organizations that are making a measurable impact in the community, organizations that we’ve built relationships with, and who are experts in their fields,” said Ellwein.
“Through our Meeting Basic Needs investment priority (which I oversee), we support agency partners’ programs that make sure individuals and families in our community have these needs met, giving them an opportunity not just to survive, but to thrive.”
“I love that United Way is a convener and collaborator, working across all sectors in partnership with various organizations to address the most pressing needs in our community.”
– Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher, Corporate Engagement Manager
A workplace campaign is an effective way not only to bring people together to reach a common goal, but it’s an opportunity to influence and ignite passion for philanthropy.
“I believe in the work of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, it’s why I came to work here,” says Dunlap Gallagher, “Coming from working at a United Way partner agency previously, I saw the power of United Way to bring people together and amplify the work of their partners through workplace campaigns, and getting services to our neighbors who need them the most.”
“There is incredible work going on throughout the community every day to make sure our neighbors have what they need to survive and thrive.”
– Jesse Sprajcar, Director of Regional Impact Initiatives
“Each time I meet with our workplace campaign partners, I get a deeper understanding of what our neighbors in need are going through and how important our support is to address some of the challenges our communities face,” says Sprajcar, “I enjoy thinking through those challenges, working collaboratively with our partner agencies and addressing those issues head on through a campaign.”
By fundraising through workplace campaigns, United Way is able to carry out incredible efforts.
“As a former kindergarten teacher, I cannot imagine how difficult the transition to virtual learning was for teachers, children and families in the youngest grades,” said Sprajcar, “Within a month we provided more than 600 Learning Kits to head start partners throughout Westmoreland and Fayette Counties to help their teachers educate families and children remotely with the tools and resources they needed to be successful.”
“I chose to donate to the Impact Fund through our workplace campaign because as an individual, it is almost impossible for me to be able to keep up with the constant changes in our community.”
– Elisha Serotta, Volunteer Coordinator
“As the pandemic and political landscape continue to evolve it has become more important for donations to be flexible,” said Serotta. “The Impact Fund is a source that can be redirected to support parts of our community that are most in need. United Way is consistently in contact with agencies and community leaders, helping them to fill the needs in the community as they arise and persist.”
For many people, it is often difficult to know how to make the most impactful donation.
“I care deeply about a lot of issues and although I try to understand our community’s needs, I will never know enough of what I need to, to make an informed decision,” said Serotta, “With the help of United Way and the Impact fund I know my contributions will go towards the biggest needs.”
“I wish that more people knew that although United Way has a large presence, what we do here, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, stays here in our communities.”
– Abby Kougher, Marketing Manager
This previous year was Kougher’s first time participating in a workplace campaign and the experience was nothing short of fulfilling.
“It was so exciting to see our team come together and keep our community at the heart of it all,” said Kougher. “Through our volunteers, partners and donors, we are working toward a common goal.”
And that’s what it’s all about, sharing that common goal. Creating opportunities to benefit communities. Helping their neighbors not only meet basic needs, but thrive on their own. United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania offers resources to learn more about what challenges your community faces, volunteer opportunities, or even starting your own workplace campaign.