Tuesday, September 22, 2015

United Way Campaign FAQs

A belated welcome to Legacy’s annual campaign to raise money for the United Way!  We’ve got some fun events, contests, and web-related content coming your way in the next few weeks, so we hope you enjoy keeping up with the campaign as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.

Some of you may have questions you want to have asked.  If you’ve been with Legacy for a few years, you may have asked the questions frequently.  If you’re new to the organization, you may not know what we’re talking about, or why we’re doing this in the first place.

Just for you, dear reader, I’ve created this blog entry that hopefully covers the basics. Why yes, I am a modern day hero.  Thank you for saying so.  No, I don’t think I deserve a medal for valor, but it sure wouldn’t hurt.  I could wear it around next year during annual evaluation time, and simply point to it at random intervals during the day, probably whenever I walked by my boss’s desk.  So you should definitely get on that.  Thanks in advance.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you don’t see your question, or send me an email at cdolan@legacycommunityhealth.org.  

I’ll answer anything, provided you include your full name, social security number, and bank routing number.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask for the type of in-depth thought and analysis you’ve come to expect from me.

And away we go:

What is the United Way Campaign?
The United Way Campaign is an opportunity for employees to help us raise money for one of Legacy’s most important affiliates, one that has supported us since 1990.

So where do I pledge?
Right here. While you're at it, check out your Legacy coworkers' slick dance moves in our 2015 "Be the One" video contest. Watch the entries and vote!

Do I have to give a donation? Is that a part of my employment?
Absolutely not. You are not required to make a donation.

But we hope you’ll give to a worthwhile cause that focuses on children and youth, families and neighborhoods, and seniors and people rebuilding their lives. The United Way also supports dozens of area agencies focused on improving the lives of Houstonians. You are a Houstonian, right?

Oh, and FYI: we give Katy Caldwell a weekly update on who we consider team players, and whose team spirit needs adjusting. Just saying.

That’s dirty pool.
I know…  But performance reviews are just 10 short months away, right?


Kidding! The only person who will know if and how much you decide to give is you. And your conscience.

Do I have to give a percentage of my yearly salary?

Of course not. You are not required to make a donation at all, but again, we hope you will. What you give or whether you give is a private, personal matter. If you give, you can do so with a single donation or a donation over time. For example, giving $5 per pay period for 12 months amounts to $130. The United Way will use that $130 to provide transportation to a medical appointment for seniors or persons with disabilities.

This is perfect timing because I’m about to come into some money. I just got an email from a Nigerian prince who promised to give me $2.4 million in gold if only I’ll send him a check for $10,000.  You should totally contact him.

That sounds great! I’ll definitely give him a…hey, wait a minute! I’m not falling for that one. Not again, anyway.

Why should I give?

1.  You should give because Legacy employees are a part of a special place. It is fitting that, along with donors who come from all over the United States, Legacy employees get to participate in supporting our own work. You know how far Legacy has come in just 34 years. Imagine what we can do in the next 34 if every employee believed enough in our mission to spare a few dollars.

2.  You should give because of two words: tax deduction!

3.  You should give because the United Way supports our mission.

4.  You should give because major donors gauge the interest of employees in an organization’s fundraising. Major donors are impressed when employees participate in their company’s campaigns as donors themselves. It lends credibility to the entirely organization and affirms our enthusiasm.

5.  You should give because giving makes you feel good. Positive emotions increase the body’s number of T-cells, cells in the immune system that help the body resist disease and recover quickly from illness. Positive emotions also release endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s natural tranquilizers and painkillers; they stimulate dilation of the blood vessels, which leads to a relaxed heart.

In other words, you should give because of SCIENCE!

What is the campaign’s goal?

We’re aiming for 100% participation. The amount you can give is secondary to your participating and having fun (by reading this blog of course).

I’m not rich. Why ask me for support?

Most everyday donors are not rich, either. In fact, most donors give a little all year long or make a commitment over several years. Payroll deduction is an easy process and a simple way to give on an ongoing basis.

Some donors choose to give a single gift. We hope some employees will give for many years, adopting philanthropy as an important aspect of their lives. Some donors may give the value of an hour’s pay for so many hours.

Once again, the act of giving is more important that the amount.

You’ve said that a few times.  Obsess much?

I believe in this campaign, and it’s the only way to get campaign leadership to stop bothering me.

It’s not that bad, right?

Why, did they say something to you? You tell them I’m working as hard as I can!

Can’t I just write you a check?

Sure, write a check out to Cody Dolan United Way of Greater Houston and drop it off your site's campaign lead.  But really, who writes a check these days?

Will you take a credit card?

Yes. You can enter your credit card information on the website.  Or you can send me the card #, expiration date, security code, and billing zip code and I’ll promise not to run off to Old Mexico.

Can’t I just give a few bucks straight to Legacy?

Of course you can, and we appreciate that line of thinking.

But here’s the thing: the United Way really likes it when employees make donations during this campaign. The closer we get to 100% participation, the better we look and the better our reputation among other United Way agencies. You might think that a one time $5 donation won’t make a difference, but just the act of giving makes a statement.

Anything come from us raising our participation stats in recent years?

As a matter of fact, yes!  Our local chapter featured once Legacy's work in publications to other United Way agencies.  Legacy was recognized as a chapter that does it right, and people took notice. 
In short, we got a lot of good press.

Good press?  That’s it?

Never underestimate the power of the press, my friend.  And don’t let any of our Marketing people
catch you asking that question.

But, that’s not it.  Our local chapter also lifted the restriction on their giving.  Previously the money we got from United Way could only be spent on 3 different programs.  We are now eligible to receive unrestricted funds.

Now, that has a lot to do with people like Lynne Tyer maintaining a good relationship with our UW reps, but I’m sure the amount of support we raised didn’t hurt.

Wait…doesn’t the United Way support the Boy Scouts and the Salvation Army, two organizations with historically discriminatory policies?

That’s true, and there’s simply no getting around it. But you can’t let two bad apples (that are slowly but surely changing with the times) spoil the bunch.

The United Way also supports: Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA), Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross – Greater Houston Area Chapter, Avance, Inc. – Houston, Avondale House, Bay Area Council On Drugs and Alcohol, Inc., Bay Area Rehabilitation Center, Bay Area Turning Point, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Boy Scouts of America – Sam Houston Area Council, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Inc., The Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Career & Recovery Resources, Inc., Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, The Center for Hearing and Speech, The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation, Child Care Council of Greater Houston, Inc., Chinese Community Center, Colorado Valley Transit, Inc., Community Family Centers, Inc., The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, Crisis Intervention of Houston, Inc., CROSSROADS: Community Partnership for Youth, Inc., Denver Harbor Senior Citizens, Inc., DePelchin Children's Center, Easter Seals of Greater Houston, Inc., Family Services of Greater Houston, FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center, Fifth Ward Enrichment Program, Fort Bend County Women's Center, Fort Bend Family Health Center, Inc., Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse, Inc., Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Good Neighbor Healthcare Center, Houston Area Urban League, Houston Area Women's Center, Innovative Alternatives, Inc., Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Jewish Community Center of Houston, Jewish Family Service, Julia C. Hester House, Inc., Legacy Community Health Services, The Lighthouse of Houston, Literacy Advance of Houston, Inc. Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Lone Star Legal Aid, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Montgomery County Women's Center, Montrose Counseling Center, Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts, Neighborhood Centers Inc., The Salvation Army, San Jose Clinic, Santa Maria Hostel, Inc., SEARCH, Sheltering Arms Senior Services, Spaulding For Children, Star Of Hope, Target Hunger, University, Speech, Language & Hearing Clinic, Volunteers of America Texas, Wellsprings Village, Inc., Wesley Community Center, Inc., The Women's Home, and YMCA of the Greater Houston Area.

That’s a lot of agencies.

I know; I had to type them all.

You typed them?  Why didn’t you just copy and paste?


Let’s move on.

Dude, seriously. CTRL+C copies and CTRL+V pa-

I said move on!

OK, OK…I apologize for pointing out your lack of efficiency.

Insincere apology accepted.

Back on track, I understand your point but I still don’t want my money going to organizations I don’t agree with.

Once again, I’ve got you covered.  You can designate Legacy as the recipient of your gift. The website provides a place for you to do just that. Again, your site leads can help you with that, so holla at your peeps!

Really? “Holla at your peeps?”

I immediately regret typing that. If only there was some way to edit this document.

…Aren’t you a writer?  One who uses a computer for most of the day?

I am. Your point?

Never mind.

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