Creative and Fun Ideas

Incentives and creativity can help your employee campaign to be a fun and an enjoyable experience. The best way to use incentives within your campaign is to use them as prizes to collect pledge cards. All employees who submit their pledge card following the United Way presentation, whether they decide to give or not, are eligible for the drawing.

Here are some ideas that Employee Campaign Managers have used to add some spark to their campaigns:

Choose a theme for your campaign: You could play off this year’s campaign theme of “Make Your Caring Count” by featuring Count Dracula or the Count from “Sesame Street” and give out Halloween candy. Or pick a theme that would work in your workplace such as Team United Way and give away NASCAR items or the Olympics and have each department compete in silly office contests as a different country.

Play Games!: Take this mock Jeopardy game for example: Playing Jeopardy is an easy and fun way to reinforce the importance of United Way programs in the community while fostering some friendly competition!

Offer rewards: Offer “late-riser” or “early-exit” coupons for employees to come in late or leave early one day.

Online or silent auction: Have employees donate items to put in an online or silent auction that is then rolled out to the whole company. There are great online services like which are free and easy to set up.

Days off with pay: One of our favorites is to offer your birthday off, a day off with pay or raffle off a whole week of vacation!

Hold a contest: One idea included asking employees to gather testimonials – stories about how they (or someone they know) were helped by United Way or why they give to United Way. Give a small prize and publish the story in your employee newsletter or on your intranet site. It brings United Way closer to home! Other ideas include celebrity look-a-likes, bubble gum blowing, spelling bee, putting, basketball free throw, watermelon seed spitting, pie eating, nicest eyes, baby picture, ugly tie or scarf, trivia, paper airplane toss, ping pong or darts tournament to kickoff your campaign. Have an employees’ children’s poster contest-turn the winning work of art into a thank you postcard.

Have a mock game show: At presentations, hold a mini -“Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” “Weakest Link,” or “Survivor” quiz about United Way or about the information the Loaned Executive has just given. Give away small prizes, like lottery tickets, to winners.

Cook-off time! Hold a dessert or chili cook-off, hotdog day or ice cream social for employees as a fun kick-off. Invite agencies to set up educational booths. Encourage employees to visit booths by creating games or scavenger hunts where clues are hidden with the agency representatives.

Share stories: If appropriate in your workplace, use e-mail or voice mail to share human interest stories about people who have been helped (check out the United Way website for the stories), prize updates, progress toward your goal, United Way news, etc.

United Way Week: Consider a week of United Way “events” to publicize the campaign – a car wash or shoe shine by managers, a dress-down day, crazy hat day, an ice cream social, etc.

Guessing Games: Guess the combined height and weight of the “Heavyweights” (management).

Talent Shows: Hold your own fundraiser-talent show, tag, flower/plant, book or bake sale, car wash, silent auction, wiffle ball or office golf tournament, balloon or flower delivery, walk-a-thon, line dancing or 1950s dance-a-thon, or a dunk tank.

Create: Work together to create a joke or cook book where employees submit their favorite jokes or recipes.

Publicize your United Way support: Use United Way items such as stickers or pins to publicize the campaign – people can wear them as part of the kickoff, when they give, or you can sell them as part of a fundraiser.

Donate goods: Hold a food, book or clothing drive.

Use Themes: Use a theme for presentation days, such as Hawaiian Day where everyone dresses in tropical attire. Or host a country picnic or barbecue before the presentation.

Fun Fridays: On Fridays, hold weekly drawings for small prizes for anyone who turned in their completed pledge card that week. Hold the drawing in a location where employees can stop for a moment and watch.

Silly Incentives for Reaching Goal: If your company reaches their goal. Managers agree to trade jobs for the day, serve breakfast or lunch, kiss a pig, wash an employee’s car, dress up in a prom gown, shave his or her head, sit on a block of ice during a full staff meeting, buy snacks for everyone, etc.

Celebrate: Hold a wrap-up rally (ice cream social or pizza party) where the CEO or manager announces the amount raised and thanks employees for participating. Have management serve the food.

Inform: Post signs by soda or coffee machines that say, “For the cost of a cup of coffee or a soda you can… make a difference in the life of a handicapped child who needs therapy, help provide shelter to the victim of domestic abuse, give a warm meal to a homeless person on a winter night, etc.

Dinner for Four: Have a drawing for 4 lobsters, dinner for 4, theatre tickets, etc. for employees who return their pledge cards the day of your individual campaign kickoff or United Way presentation. Ask employees if they might have something to donate such as a quilt, weekend at their camp, UMaine tickets, etc.