How to Run a Successful Campaign

Welcome to the United Way Campaign Team! You help bring the work of United Way to life – thank you for inspiring others to invest in our community. We know planning and executing a United Way campaign takes a lot of work – don’t feel overwhelmed. These steps to success will help you run an efficient and effective campaign.

Step 1: Build a Foundation

  • Learn about United Way’s work, the difference we make in people’s lives, and how we tackle tough issues through strategic investments.
  • Recruit a team of enthusiastic volunteers like a Campaign Chair, Leadership Giving Chair, and committee members to connect one-on-one with employees. Get your CEO to actively show support and get someone to help at each business unit or location.
    • Work with your management team to identify employees who would be a good fit for your committee.
    • Promote teamwork as a professional development opportunity.
    • Ask a representative from each department to be involved.
  • Learn about your company’s community impact philosophy and goals and develop a campaign strategy to fit.
  • Set a start and end date. Some companies find two weeks to be a great timeframe. 
  • Set and publicize your goals.
    • Work with your committee or CEO to establish a goal and be sure to publicize it within your campaign. Incentivize your goals and utilize emails, newsletters, and signage to help employees understand what United Way is and what we do to help the community.

 Step 2: Educate and Inspire

  • Schedule a company-wide United Way Campaign Kickoff, or meet with your co-workers in groups or individually to share the United Way story. Discuss United Way Investment Volunteers, good stewardship, and our focus on results. Emphasize that United Way looks at the big picture to leverage the power of each gift.
  • Add a United Way message moment into regularly scheduled meetings and emails to employees. Distribute brochures, videos, posters, and table tents that tell stories of people’s lives we have changed.
  • Make sure education begins well before pledge information goes out.

 Step 3: Make It Personal

  • Get your team together for a United Way Day of Caring volunteer project or a tour of the 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE to listen in on live calls for help.
  • Ask a colleague who has been helped by United Way to share their personal story, share a United Way beneficiary story, or ask United Way to schedule a speaker for your group.
  • Encourage your colleagues to get involved through our leadership and affinity groups, like United Way LINC (30 and younger), United Way Young Leaders (45 and younger), United Way Women’s Initiative, and Stay United (United Way’s retiree initiative).

Step 4:  Ask Everyone to Give

  • Being respectful that giving is a personal decision, have a member of your campaign team personally ask every colleague to support United Way. The number one reason people don’t give is because they are not asked.
  • Ask your company leadership to attend meetings and events, publicly endorse the campaign, and encourage employees to give.
  • Let employees know they can give via payroll deduction, check, credit card, direct billing ($250 minimum), or stock.
  • Work with United Way to develop a Leadership Giving strategy. Recruit a chair and a team of leadership donors to support the effort.

Step 5: Give Thanks

  • Make sure every donor knows how important their gift is by sending a personalized thank you letter to each individual.
  • Host a thank you event for employees to express gratitude, announce results, and celebrate.
  • Close out your campaign by submitting to United Way an electronic summary of donor results and information, including pledge card data, payroll summary data, and corporate pledge data. Include a hard copy with your campaign report envelope.
  • Provide donor contact and gift information to United Way so we can thank every donor. Compile a complete list of leadership donors so United Way can include them in donor recognition events and materials.

 Maximize Results with Leadership Giving:

  1. Appoint a Leadership Giving chair and team. Your chair should be a senior staff member who is also a Leadership donor, and your team should also give at the Leadership level so they can share their experience with peers.
  2. Analyze past giving and develop a plan. Ask HR to identify prospective Leadership Donors: those currently giving $500+, those earning $50K+, longtime contributors, and retirees. Talk with them about the benefits of being involved with United Way LINC, Young Leaders, Women’s Initiative, Alexis de Tocqueville Society, Chairman's Club, Impact Circle, and Leadership Circle. 
  3. Recognize Leadership Donors’ generosity: Send each individual a personalized letter from your CEO and Leadership Giving chair. Consider a special kick-off or thank you event or a salute in your company newsletter.

Your Campaign Tools

Examples of past campaign activities:

Hines rocked their Campaign Kickoff at House of Blues with a costume contest and “Rock Out for United Way” theme.

Memorial Hermann sent an enthusiastic group of 30-and-under United Way LINC members to build Book Nooks for local students.

ConocoPhillips designed and painted murals on the walls to brighten up local agency residences, and captured it in a timelapse video.

Williams organized a family-friendly Fun Run to get employees out of the office and get even more people involved in their United Way campaign.

BHP held a mini-expo-style kickoff with booths and games for employees to learn about United Way – some even featuring their senior leadership.

Shell brought visiting international executives to listen in on live calls for help to the 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE.


If you are interested in learning more or starting a campaign at your company please email or