Running Your Campaign

You are helping your co-workers participate in creating a stronger community.

Why it matters to Purdue:

  • Recognized as a leader in positively impacting people’s lives
  • Regarded as a caring community employer
  • Relationships with other key community leaders are built

Why it matters to you and your co-workers:

  • Educates about community needs and United Way’s impact
  • Builds employee morale and pride
  • Communicates availability of services for employees in need
  • Provides leadership and development opportunities for employee committee volunteers

Why it matters to your community:

  • A healthier, stronger community
  • An improved quality of life for everyone
  • A vital economy

Here are some quick tips that make asking for a pledge easier:

  • Know the facts.  
    Read the background materials carefully. The more you know about United Way, the easier your job will be. Prepare a solicitation case. Check out United Way’s website at for facts and stories that make a compelling case for giving.
  • Make personal contact.
    People give to people. Set up face-to-face meetings to ask for a pledge. It’s best not to just leave pledge cards on desks. Group meetings are the most effective and efficient way to reach all employees in an organization. It can take as little as 20 minutes to convey the key message to your group, make the ask, and even show the United Way video. Please call United Way of Greater Lafayette at 765-742-9077 to schedule a United Way Advocate to speak at your meeting(s). Remember, people give to people, so don’t overlook this critical step.
  • Be positive.
    Explain the benefits of giving to United Way. Stress the importance of each person’s contribution to our community. Emphasize that you’re raising funds for urgently needed programs to help children succeed in life, help individuals get jobs and stable housing, strengthen families and neighborhoods, and put people on the road to becoming socially, emotionally, and economically self-sufficient.
  • Be prepared for questions and concerns.
    People deserve to know that their money is being used wisely. If you don't know the answer to a question, find out by calling the Purdue United Way director at 765-494-9240 and get back to your colleague.  
  1. Attend the Purdue Kickoff on Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. at the Purdue Armory.
  2. Pledge cards and posters will be available at the Kickoff.
  3. Add your name and department to the mailing envelopes before you distribute them to ensure your co-workers know who their team captain is. Have them write their names on outside of return envelope.
  4. Distribute solicitation envelopes by hand to staff members on or soon after Sept. 10. Share United Way's "Cradle to Career Continuum." Schedule an Advocate to talk to your department. A video is available from your area senior chair and on the website.
  5. Return pledge forms to Gift Processing, Dauch Alumni Center, daily during the campaign. Employees also may use campus mail to return their forms. (DO NOT send CASH in campus mail!)
  6. Use weekly lists of outstanding pledge forms to followup with employees who have not returned their forms. Your senior chair will distribute lists to you. THESE REPORTS are for your information only! Do not e-mail these reports to anyone.
  7. Provide blank forms for those who have lost forms or for new staff members (or direct them to the United Way website to download a blank form). Contact Purdue United Way Director Becky Hershey at 494-9240 or with questions about pledge forms.
  8. Give a poster to each employee who returns a pledge form.
  9. Have all pledge forms returned by Nov. 10 so we can meet and exceed the Purdue goal of $760,000 by the Victory Celebration.

Important to Know:

  • Preprinted pledge forms have been prepared for all monthly paid staff, biweekly paid staff and select retirees.
  • Pledge forms for staff who are no longer with Purdue University should be returned to the Purdue United Way office, Purdue Memorial Union, Room 103B, with a notation as such.
  • Do not open envelopes containing returned pledge forms.
  • If a staff member so desires, the pledge may be sent directly to Purdue United Way, Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center, University Development Office, 403 W. Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2007. Contributors are encouraged to return forms through Purdue.
  • Payroll deductions are the easiest way to give, and these deductions will begin with the first paychecks of 2016! Any checks submitted should be made payable to "United Way."

Some of the people you solicit will object to the idea, particularly when you ask them to increase their pledges this year. Rejections are a natural part of the campaign process, so regard them as welcome signals that you are doing your job the way it should be done. However, unless you really understand what objections are and how to handle them, they can present big problems. The following list gives some practical insight into the psychology of objections and how to handle them with confidence.

Keep these points in mind:

  • Be empathetic. Listen carefully to what your prospect says. This does not mean that you agree, however. You can be empathetic and concerned without necessarily agreeing.
  • Objections aren’t personal. An objection isn’t directed against you, it is directed at the idea you are presenting.
  • Encourage the contributor to talk. When an objection is voiced, let the individual expand on it at length. If the objection is insincere, illogical, or both, it will tend to fall of its own weight as he/she attempts to articulate it.
  • Objections may actually be misperceptions. Clarify the basis of the objection and present facts to alleviate the misperceptions.
  • Don’t argue with your prospect. If you argue with an objection, you will force your prospect into defending it. Remember the old adage about winning the battle but losing the war? As a campaigner, you may win an argument, but you will lose your sale.
  • Relax and be yourself. You shouldn’t feel that your job is to match wits or verbally “fence” with your prospect. Neither is it necessary to overwhelm your prospect with rhetoric. You have an important idea to present, and you should be absolutely straightforward in so doing. Remember, the solicitation interview isn’t a “win–lose” situation; it is a “win–win” situation! 
  • What local agencies are members of United Way?
  • American Red Cross
    The ARC
    Bauer Family Resource Center
    Big Brothers/Big Sisters
    Boy Scouts Sagamore Council
    Willowstone Family Services Inc.
    Food Finders Food Bank
    Girl Scouts of Central Indiana
    Hanna Community Center
    Lafayette Adult Resource Academy
    Lafayette Family YMCA
    Lafayette Transitional Housing Center
    Legal Aid Corporation
    Lyn Treece Boys & Girls Club
    Meals on Wheels
    Mental Health America of Tippecanoe County Inc.
    The Salvation Army
    The Center @ Jenks Rest
    Riggs Community Health Center
    Right Steps Child Development Centers
    Wabash Center

  • Why return pledge form to your team captain?
    So the team captain knows you received your solicitation and had the opportunity to make your decision on whether or not to give. Team Captains will give Purdue posters to those who return forms.
  • Who knows what or if I give?
    Only those in gift processing and payroll who process gifts are aware. Area heads, chairs, and team captains know only the percentage giving and total amounts for the Purdue areas.
  • Who benefits?
    One in three individuals in the community who needs the services of the 22 participating agencies and countless others who benefit from the many programs sponsored by United Way.
  • How much should I give?
    Only you can decide. Purdue does not specify or promote “fair share.”
  • How do I give?
    Complete your pledge form; give by check, quarterly pledge, by credit card, or payroll deduction (the easy way).
  • I give directly to the agencies.
    Great! But please consider an additional gift to the United Way; it can do a great deal of good throughout the community, extending the impact of your charitable giving.
  • What if I don’t want my money to go to all of these agencies?
    Contributions may be designated to any specific agency within the 22 supported by the local United Way, and all such designations will be honored in their entirety. Note: the United Way planning and allocations committees review the requests of the various agencies, and they do “pre-allocate” the target dollar total for the campaign among the agencies so as to try to ensure the best coverage of community needs. Remember, just because you haven’t seen or heard about an agency in the news doesn’t mean the need is not there. The most generous gift is the undesignated gift.
  • Who decides how the money is used?
    Volunteers who work with our local United Way organizations and partners, many of them Purdue employees. The United Way of Greater Lafayette has a very small staff; the total budget for all expenses is less than 10% of the campaign; budget and allocation decisions are made by volunteer committees.  
    Appreciation/Compliment Grams
    Design notes of thanks and congratulations for co-workers to buy and send to each other.

    Balloon Grams
    Sell balloons with notes of recognition inside and deliver to co-workers.

    Change Bandit
    A co-worker dresses as a bandit. Have them visit employees to procure spare change.

    Spare Change Jars
    Place empty jars near vending machines or gathering places. Ask employees to deposit spare change throughout the year for United Way. This can be a competition between departments to see who collects the most change in a time frame.

    White Elephant Sale
    Employees donate odd items for sale. Co-workers should have the opportunity to buy items and stipulate in whose workplace these items should be displayed. Set a time frame for which objects must stay in that location.

    Spelling Bee
    Hold a spelling bee and charge an entry fee.

    Entertainment Drive
    Employees donate new or slightly used books, videos, DVDs, board games, puzzles, etc., and hold a sale to benefit United Way.

    Dress Down Day
    Employees pay to not wear "normal" work attire. Get as casual as needed: jeans, tennis shoes, sports apparel, hats, slippers, etc.

    Guess the Number
    Fill a clear jar with candy and have employees pay for a chance to guess the number of pieces in the jar. The most accurate guess wins the candy or another prize.

    Penny Wars
    Divide the office by department and have a money jar assigned to each. Members of each department deposit pennies, nickels and dimes into their own jar and place quarters or "green" into the jars of other departments. Pennies count as positive while quarters and "green" are negative. The department with the highest positive number (or as is often the case, the least negative number) wins a lunch provided by the area/college/unit.

    Bake Sale
    Employees buy employee-donated baked goods with donations benefiting the United Way.

    Build Your Own Ice Cream Sundaes
    Have a wide variety of sundae toppings (nuts, fruit, cookies, gummy bears, crushed candy bars, whipped cream, cherries, etc.) available for employees to build their own sundaes.

    Ethnic Food Festival
    Ask employees to bring dishes symbolic of their heritage or recipes "handed down" from family members along with interesting facts about their heritage. Another option is to have various departments sponsor a lunch representing a specific ethnicity.

    Peanuts, Get Your Peanuts!
    Decorate a pushcart with a sports theme (Purdue Boilermakers!). Stock the cart with individual bags of salted peanuts, chips, hot dogs, soda and all the necessary condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, onion). Visit cubicles and sell items. This is a great way to kick off any sports season!

    Post a sign-up sheet for employees to bring entrees, salads and desserts to ensure a variety of food. Decorate the room with a theme (Purdue's campaign theme: Windows of Opportunity or another theme of your choice). Adjust entry fees for those who bring an item.

    Chili Cook-Off
    Participants pay to enter their chili into the contest. Choose judges and determine prizes for first, second and third place. After judging, employees can pay to sample each chili. Remember to supply cheese, sour cream, crackers, TUMS, etc.

    Donut Eating Contest
    Employees raise money for United Way by sponsoring contenders on a per-donut-eaten basis. The winner is determined by either eating the most donuts in a time frame or the first to finish a set number of donuts.

    Informative Meeting Incentives
    Hold a workplace meeting and have a United Way Advocate and/or an agency speaker give a presentation. Offer donuts, coffee or random prize drawings to attendees.

    Silent Auction
    Employees donate in-kind auction items such as event tickets, sports memorabilia, apparel, etc. Employees can also donate services. All proceeds go to United Way.

    Executive Chef
    Auction off dinner for two or more at the home of an executive (dean, associate dean, department head, etc.).

    Front Row Parking
    Arrange for front row parking spots for one year, or during winter months.

    Lunch with Leadership
    Auction off lunch with your area/college/unit's leadership — their treat!