Campaign activities keep people motivated and excited. Most are free or low cost and really easy to organize. For our more competitive campaigners, there are also some activities that will let you go head-to-head. Keep in mind: it’s all about team building and awareness – so have fun with it!
If your team does something cool not listed below (and you’re willing to share), email Marissa at email@example.com so we can add it to the list. We will be sure to give credit where it’s due.
General Campaign Ideas
Sell casual day badges allowing employees to dress casually on certain days. Employees can purchase the badges for $5 (or other amount) each. Your office can hold themed casual days as well.
Half & Half Raffle
Employees buy raffle tickets for a minimal amount, with all the money contributed is kept in visible container. Hold a drawing where the worker receives half the funds in the container and your United Way campaign receives the other half.
Each employee who participates or gives at a certain level is entitled to wear jeans on the day of their choice. They can earn extra days for adding on to their donation.
Late Meeting Fee
Employees who arrive late for a meeting pay a dollar for each meeting during campaign.
Lunch Box Auction
Employees supply lunches to be auctioned, packed in decorated paper bags. Participants bid on the lunches based just on their design, without knowing what’s inside. All of the money goes to your United Way campaign and the team enjoys a fun lunch together.
Designate two spots in the front of your office parking lot as “UW All Star Spots.” Auction each of them off – one for the year, and one month by month. We’ll bet January brings in a little more money than May!
Paid Days Off
Through HR (or similar department), employees can have their name entered into a drawing to receive whole or half days of PTO for giving to the United Way campaign. Allow time for approval.
Picture Match Game
Invite employees to try their luck matching baby and/or pet pictures of management on a PowerPoint slideshow or other display. Award the staff member with the most correct answers a fun incentive (e.g. gift certificate, gift basket, “VIP” parking, etc.). Employees can be charged $5 (or other amount) per ballot.
Raffle off gift certificates, company mugs/T-shirts, parking spaces, vacation days, etc. The sky is the limit!
Staff can bid silently on items such as longer lunch hours, “VIP” parking spots, casual days, extra vacation days, etc. Have employees donate items to auction off.
Have offices, departments, or staff teams compete against each other to see who can have the highest participation rate or greatest donation amount raised for an incentive such as a free pizza lunch, after-work mixer, gift certificates, etc. Use the United Way campaign thermometers to judge the progress of the teams, and announce the winner at the campaign wrap-up meeting.
How can you have a successful Casino Night? Set up a few gaming tables, a bingo table, a snack table, and invite employees and their families to donate to the campaign to participate. Have local businesses donate prizes.
[Your Company’s] Funniest Office Video Contests
Invite employees to create their own “work” home videos. Charge an entry fee at a viewing party; offer a prize.
Tune into the Community
Music is a great way to get everyone moving to the United Way beat. Rent or borrow a karaoke machine and hold a karaoke kick-off party. Have employees donate old CDs to sell, or raffle off stereos, iPods, iTunes gift cards, or CDs. Hold a musical talent show complete with revamped songs with lyrics about the United Way.
Festival Theme Ideas
Carnival and Talent Show
Hold a carnival and talent show to kick off your United Way campaign. As a part of the program, have executives perform songs with lyrics to fit United Way’s work. Have an executive dunking booth, giving employees the chance to dunk their boss, or create a pie-throwing game with a similar setup. Employees can participate in traditional carnival games such as the ring/beanbag toss and ducky races. The finale event is the Mr./Mrs. United Way Pageant where divisions nominate a contestant to compete in the pageant. Each pageant contestant must educate the audience about one United Way agency during the talent competition.
Everyone loves a party so why not model your campaign after the biggest party in the world- Mardi Gras! Invite a jazz band to play at your kick-off event. Hold a parade float contest, with departments decorating shoeboxes as floats. Sell bead-o-grams (beads with thoughtful messages attached). Host a Cajun potluck as your thank you.
Ice Cream Social
Set up an ice cream bar with a variety of favorite toppings. Charge employees by the scoop.
My Local Joint Rules!
Everyone thinks they know the best pizza, hoagie, ice cream (insert food!) place in town. Ask your team to prove it! Ask everyone to bring in what they consider the best of a particular food (e.g. hot wings) and do a taste test at lunch. Charge a small fee for the tasting with all proceeds going to United Way.
Taste of [Company Name]
Create a “Taste of Bucks” event. Invite local restaurants in the area (or even your own employees) to set up their best dishes for employees to purchase and sample in order to raise funds for your campaign.
Sell tickets and have people sign-up for their choice of pancakes or waffles. Cook breakfast in your company cafeteria. Don’t forget bacon, sausage, syrup, butter etc. Each department can donate an item. The proceeds will go to United Way.
Sports Fans Events
Executive Rolling Chair or Tricycle Races
Set up a relay course for executives to go through either sitting in rolling chairs or on tricycles. Let observers “bet” on their favorite contestants.
Mini-Indy 500. Rent or borrow remote controlled cars and set up an “Indy 500” race. Use office supplies to decorate the track. Teams can be sponsored to compete. Spectators can place “bets” on the winner.
Teams (by department or random) are formed throughout the office and must pay an entry fee ($25 per team or other amount). Teams will participate in events over lunch or after work such as paper airplane flying, trashcan basketball, darts, and/or relays (three-legged race, potato sack race, egg-on-a-spoon race, etc.). Give medals or small trophies to the top teams. Organize an international potluck luncheon where employees bring their favorite ethnic dishes and showcase music from around the world.
Playing the Field
Use baseball, basketball, football, golf or hockey themes. Teams of employees advance around bases or down the field according to their donation levels. Include sports related competitions and prizes for participants.
Have a Monday night tailgate during football season or a Saturday afternoon tailgate for Ohio State during college football season. Each employee brings $5 or $10 as well as a potluck dish (hot dogs, wings, chili, etc.). A colleague can host the event in their home to be more cost effective, or you can hold the event in the company parking lot.
With a traveling theme, you can host a “Bon Voyage” party as a victory celebration. Everyone who gives through United Way gets a “passport” to get into the party. Top contributors will be put into a drawing to win a prize, possibly donated from a travel agency.
Vacation at Work
Whether you transform your campaign into a Hawaiian luau, African safari or the Australian outback, employees are sure to have a wild time. Organize a scavenger hunt or hula-hoop contest. Have a themed potluck and encourage staff to dress up too (e.g. grass skirts, safari outfits).
Board Game Contest
Recruit employees to play a chosen board game (e.g. Trivial Pursuit, chess, Scrabble, etc.). Create a bracket and pool around the winning team or allow employees to move/acquire a game piece for every gift.
Children’s Drawing Contest
Give employees photographs of some top executives to take home for their children under 12 to draw. Charge a ballot fee to vote for the best portraits. Display the winning portraits. Variations of this event: have children draw people helping other people; poems, collages, and photos can also be submitted.
United Way 007
Clues are given to employees in the form of riddles about the United Way’s work and submits their answers. The department or individual who figures out all the riddles receives a prize at the end of the campaign.
New Ideas for 2016
Create a form and sell them to office employees as a way to compliment a fellow employee. Charge $1 per compliment and $2 to do so anonymously.
Place pictures of managers on jars in the company lobby. Employees can vote for their favorite manager by putting change in their jar. The winning manager is given a rain poncho and a shower cap, while members of their department cover him or her with ice cream, chocolate sauce, etc.
Jail and Bail
Set up a “jail” in your office. Charge people to put someone in jail, and charge to get them out. Designate employees to be deputies, bringing employees to jail. Optional: Make “hard labor” part of your jail and bail – like having people in “jail” clean out the refrigerator or tidy up supply closets.
Flee at Three
Sell $1 tickets for a raffle of “Flee at Three” passes that allow employees to leave work at 3 PM for one day. They could be for the day of the raffle, sometime that week, or any day they chose.
Ask employees to bring a wrapped white elephant item (usable, though not necessarily useful) from their homes. All who donate get a raffle ticket, and when their name is called, they can choose a mystery item. Don’t forget to publicize the winners and their new treasures!
You Got UWBoo’d
An employee can “boo” another employee by placing a treat on their desk along with a note about campaign and instructions to pass it on within 24 hours.