This year in the face of a pandemic, Gillette is launching their first-ever virtual campaign. While Gillette has been running an annual United Way campaign for decades, this year the stakes are higher than ever. Their goal: to raise $1 million for the thousands of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity, homelessness and basic needs. We sat down with the 2020 Co-Chairs, Genevieve Biedron, Ramsay Brasza and Michelle Ellis to discuss their tips on planning a virtual fundraiser and what the United Way campaign means to their company culture.
“It’s a time for us all to take a step back and think about how we can give back to the community and I think that’s especially important this year,” shared Ramsay. “This is amazing for our employees, we love to donate our money and see the impact it has in the community,” added Michelle.
TRANSITIONING TO A virtual CAMPAIGN
This year, the challenge was taking a decades-long fundraising campaign that had proven successful year after year and completely pivoting it to take place in an online environment. But the team was undaunted. “We’ve tried to bring humor and grace and know that it’s ok – if things don’t go well it’s going to be okay and we’ll continue to move forward. We’re all learning,” said Genevieve.
In planning the events, the team incorporated lessons they’d already learned from remote communications, making sure to include campaign materials throughout all the platforms they use on a regular basis. As Michelle shared, their goal is to get employees “seeing United Way and feeling United Way even though they’re not walking the halls of Gillette’s campus.”
But their biggest challenge? Figuring out how to keep people engaged from home. Here are their tips.
Offer multiple ways to get involved
If you only offer one way to participate, you’re not going to be able to reach everyone, so it’s important to look into different options for different people.
Tie the dollars back to what’s happening in the community
“There’s a lot of interest from our employees about what’s going on in the community right now…with regards to COVID and racial justice. The United Way plays an important role in our community in both areas, so we’re trying to figure out how can we bring some of that work into various forums so people can take that interest into the campaign,” shared Ramsay.
Design VIRTUAL CAMPAIGN opportunities employees care about
What causes do they care about most – ending homelessness, food insecurity, equitable education? Once you know what kinds of things your employees are interested in supporting, you can tailor your events to reflect their interests. This is a great way to rally community spirit.
At the end of the day, “what’s so great about the United Way campaign is that you know you’re making an impact in the community where you live and work,” said Genevieve.
You never know, you may have had a major impact on a stranger you pass on the street.
Watch the video above to learn more and hear about how Gillette is keeping the excitement going, even during a pandemic. You can also learn more about United Way’s Corporate Social Responsbility work here.