On Being a Fundraiser

Megan Richardsby Megan Richards
Community Investment Advisor

When people ask me what I do, the easiest answer is “I’m a fundraiser.”

This elicits varied responses with one of the most common being “good for you — but I could never do that.” When people try to envision themselves as fundraisers they simply think of how uncomfortable they feel asking colleagues for money, but I want to expand that view.

As a fundraiser, I get to see the best side of people. I get to see when people are generous, caring, and concerned — not only about those close to them but also our community at large. And this is not uncommon in my work. According to the 2014 World Giving Index, a comprehensive study of Gallup polls conducted each year by the Charities Aid Foundation, the United States ranks in the top ten nations in the world for citizens donating money, and we are first in the world of donations, volunteering, and helping a stranger are considered in unison (1). And I get to be a fundraiser here!
If people are going to give, then I as a fundraiser want to make sure their money is going to make a measurable difference. At United Way of Salt Lake we take our promise to change the odds for children and families very seriously. Every day we work with local schools, business, governments, and other nonprofits to align resources and bring services to where they are needed most. Best of all, we are seeing results and sharing them with those who donated to make change possible (2).

Parsons volunteer 1
So the next time your boss or your employees ask you to run a United Way charitable giving campaign and you feel a moment of panic thinking of asking your colleagues for donations, step back and remember this: we are a charitable nation. People – our friends, family, and colleagues – want to give and want to make a difference in their community!

Let’s open pathways for them to be part of something bigger and to make meaningful change. Let’s make it possible for everyone to LIVE UNITED.

Savage LIVE UNITED Volunteers

ˡ Charities Aid Foundation. (2014). World Giving Index 2014. Retrieved from https://www.cafonline.org/about-us/publications/2014-publications/world-giving-index-2014.
2 Promise Partnership Regional Council (2015). The promise of partnership: Aligning action for results. Retrieved from http://www.uw.org/our-work/reports-pdfs/2014-promise-partnership-brochure-vfmr.pdf

Why am I Invested in United Way of Salt Lake?

SeanSlatter 5195 BWby Sean Slatter
CEO, Logistic Specialties, Inc (LSI)
Executive Committee and Davis County Chair
United Way of Salt Lake Board of Directors,
Guest Blogger


My involvement with United Way stems back more than 20 years, when LSI was looking for a way to better support the community—to build something to tie the company to the community. A small team was tasked with identifying opportunities and proposing recommendations. Reflecting back, it’s not a coincidence that United Way was presented as the best option for building a partnership in community giving.

Our first corporate campaign was nothing short of a success, with 100 percent participation and the highest per capita giving to United Way in Davis County. When these results were replicated the following year, I found myself on the receiving end of an eager invitation to join the United Way board!

LSI stamp copyWhat has drawn me to United Way, and what keeps this partnership energizing decades later, can be summed up in a word—innovation. United Way of Salt Lake has been at the forefront of efforts to address systemic social issues in our community in a more fundamental and effective away, and to execute best practices with better-leveraged resources to truly change the odds.

The essence of United Way is improving individual lives and building stronger communities. I’m honored to serve, and I look forward to what we can collectively accomplish over the next 20 years!

Space Monsters, Spiders, and Selflessness

IMG_3933David Bean
TD Williamson, Technical Director of Data Architecture 
Guest Blogger

When I was 15, my dad took me to see Alien, the movie. It was a milestone for me for two reasons.  One, it was my first R rated movie, and two, it instilled in me a fear of space monsters that still exists today. While I generally don’t run into acid-for-blood aliens, I do occasionally encounter spiders, my other deep-seated fear.

Upon being surprised by an arachnid, I approach coronary failure, but this is nothing compared to what happens to a coworker, who we’ll call Stacie. Stacie experiences apoplectic panic. She becomes completely unhinged…for hours. If ‘freak out’ becomes a clinical description, she’ll own it. The only thing she can do is go home to calm down. Her day is over.

Some time last year, one of our coworkers sent an email around that included a picture of pure 8-legged villainy. When I opened it, my eyes got big, I couldn’t talk, my pulse rate went through the roof, but neither my heart nor brain exploded. I collected myself, and then I thought about Stacie. She was on the distribution list! I sprinted down the hallway to her office, barged in and yelled, “Back away from the computer right NOW!” Squinting at me as you might any deranged co-worker, she cautiously rolled her chair away from her desk. Disaster averted. “Stacie, there’s an email in your inbox you really don’t want to see. Delete it now. Do not open it.” Her eyes softened with understanding. Stacie was grateful, and I felt downright chivalrous.

What does any of this have to do with the United Way of Salt Lake?

Well, I’m the chair of TDW’s United Way campaign this year, and my experience with Stacie reminds me what our co-workers do when they contribute – they think about someone else. I was proud of my selflessness after the Infamous Spider Email Incident of 2014, but in talking to coworkers about their United Way contributions, I realized that I’m a small fish in a big pond. Take this comment from one of our people:

I lived overseas for 17 years in Africa and India. I’ve seen the worst of poverty and was unable to help everyone there so I helped no one. As an ex-hippie with a Christian heart, I feel a duty to help my fellow community members. I have more than enough, it is only right to give a little back. It makes for good karma and United Way of Salt Lake spreads it around.

I’ve always liked this guy, perhaps because he’d sell me his season tickets to Utah football games, but now I want to grow up to be just like him. He even signed this note back to me with “Peace & Love.” Groovy, man.

TD Williamson

Here’s another one that resonated:

For me, I love United Way’s effort toward helping children. As a mother, I want to make sure my child has a proper education, doesn’t go hungry, and has every opportunity to be their best. I know there are children who don’t have access to the same opportunities. It tugs on your heart strings to think of a child in your own community who might go hungry, be worried about shelter, isn’t supported in their education, etc.

It would be natural for a mother to focus entirely on her own children, but this one spreads her love and support well beyond her family.

There are many more comments like these, and they’ve taught me that selflessness is a way of life at TDW. It begins with the TDWilliamson family who owns the company (and matches our contributions dollar-for-dollar), and it extends to the generosity of its most unassuming employees.

I’d like to say I emulate that behavior, but the best I could come up with was rescuing Stacie from a picture of a spider.**

*It’s still a bastion of pure vile and evilness, and I’m still a hero for saving her. At least in my own mind.


STOEL RIVES — Lip Syncing for a Cause!

Kelsey Koziarby Kelsey Koziar
Business Development Coordinator, STOEL RIVES, LLP
Guest Blogger

This year, for the STOEL RIVES LLP workplace giving campaign, we kept it pretty simple – but we knew that wouldn’t stop folks from wanting to get involved and give to United Way of Salt Lake, in fact, some went all out!

The highlight of the week was the very funny STOEL RIVES Lip Sync Battle!

Six of our attorneys agreed to participate, and the top three that raised the most money got to perform the song of their choice! The winning performance was by Justin Flanagan, with an eye-catching rendition of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. All for a good cause, right? The rest of the week included raffle items that were donated by various staff members. The STOEL RIVES staff was really excited to have a little fun while giving back to our community.

Photo Jun 25, 2 58 45 PMIt was great to spend the week raising money and awareness about United Way of Salt Lake, and the work they are doing in Community Schools and Neighborhood Centers, to truly change the odds for kids and families in our community. The employees at STOEL RIVES understand that building a strong community is vital to the success of everyone and we are happy to give back – even if it means singing to Miley Cyrus!

Photo Jun 25, 3 03 48 PM

Corporate Social Responsibility – Why it Matters

amy-bosworthby Amy Bosworth
Corporate Relations Director

Recently, I met with an executive of a company to discuss ways to engage its employees in the work of United Way of Salt Lake. After explaining our Collective Impact model and some of the impressive accomplishments that have occurred because of working this way, the executive turned to me and asked, “Why should I care and what do you REALLY want from us?” It was an interesting question, and one that gave me pause.

There are many responses to that question that immediately came to mind; ‘because system-wide change doesn’t happen alone; because a vibrant education experience for children leads to a vibrant, qualified workforce later; because we can address the root of issues now or work through corrections later;’ and the list goes on.

Why business leaders should care:

With all of the very strong and worthy reasons detailed above aside, what this executive needed to hear was that his company would be changed for the better by aligning with United Way of Salt Lake and by utilizing our services to create a Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR program). There are certain truths around CSR programs that business leaders should consider as an incentive to positively enhancing a company or corporation. These truths include:

  • Attracting the right people to work for you: Recruiting top-performing employees and keeping them happy is a priority of all thriving corporations.  Charitable giving improves employee engagement by boosting productivity, ethical behavior, gratitude to the organization, and pride in their work.
  • Helping people feel good while working at the same time: With employees more engaged in their work and more pleased with the corporate culture, their morale will naturally be higher.  This leads to less time and productivity lost to “illness”, tardiness, or extended breaks and lunches, as well as lower turnover rates.
  • Meaning it when you use the word “team”: This generally positive attitude in the workplace extends beyond just the rank-and-file employees. When a corporate giving program brings together people from all levels of the organization – from the C-level to the mail room – everyone feels like they are working together toward a common goal. This feeling of effective teamwork will extend beyond the CSR program to positively influence other aspects of their work.

*Reference: Frontstream Blog: http://www.frontstream.com/why-charitable-giving-is-important-to-businesses/

As for what we, United Way of Salt Lake, REALLY want?

Well, the answer to that question is complex and requires businesses, nonprofits, government organizations, school districts, religious affiliations, community stakeholders and caring individuals to join us!

We want to fulfill our promise, that every child and family, regardless of their circumstances, has the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life. We invite companies and corporations to join us as we work to change the odds for kids and families in our most at-risk neighborhoods. Simply put, we can’t do it alone.

To learn how to align your business to create a more energized and committed workforce, contact Amy Bosworth, amyb@uw.org.

Savage LIVE UNITED Volunteers

Zions 1(1)


Why Do Target Employees Give to UWSL? ‘If you want to feel good, do good’!

Mike Wattsby Mike Watts
Community Investment Advisor

Target team members understand that in order to have a strong business, the surrounding community needs to be healthy. Supporting communities by giving to United Way has been a cornerstone of Target’s business since 1962. This legacy of longstanding commitment to community engagement is a source of pride for Target team members.

Target Here is what a few have to say about why they give:

“When I follow the motto ‘If you want to feel good, do good’, I feel a sense of happiness and peace. Helping others gives me the opportunity to make connections with people I might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. Giving to others brings me joy, reduces my stress level, and helps me put my own life into perspective.”
~ Dayna, Target Team Member

“The reason I give is because earlier on in life I needed the help and support of the United Way for my kids. Now that I am able, I make sure to donate every year and give back to help others since I needed help at one point.”
~ Karen, Target Team Member

“Growing up with a single dad who took care of 4 girls, I knew he was wearing himself thin and I knew my sisters and I were not helping his stress. Then, he started making me and my two older sisters to go to a afterschool program close by our house. The program helped us with homework and we made friends with Kellie, who taught us how to respect others and ourselves. I later found out that this program was funded by United Way and I have given every year since working here. I know it’s not much, but my circumstances could have been very different had it not been for those volunteers and United Way.”
~ Anonymous Team Member

I give because I can; you never know when something is going to drastically change in your life, and you never know when you will need that help and support.”
~ Laurie, Target Team Member

“I got involved in my first United Way campaign in 1990 as the coordinator and have been leading campaigns for Target stores for the last 25 years. I have seen the direct results that United Way plays in our community and how it serves individuals. I have enjoyed each campaign and enjoy sharing the benefits to my team during our United Way campaigns.”
~ Bert, Target Team Member

Because Bert has been giving for over 20 years, he and other Target Team Members who have been giving for this long are recognized as a Diamond Donors. To learn more about United Way of Salt Lake’s Donor Networks, visit www.uw.org/donornetworks.

Thank you to all the Target team members who pledge to GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER by working with United Way of Salt Lake. You are truly helping to make our community a better places to live and work.

Thank you for taking care of our community! Way to LIVE UNITED!

Hexcel Does the Hulk Smash for UWSL!

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.20.41 AMby Carol Affeltranger
Executive Assistant, Hexcel Corporation

Hexcel’s United Way of Salt Lake campaign has come to an end for 2015. We exceeded our goal again this year, and, as in previous years, Hexcel matched all funds that employees raised! We had a lot of fun while raising money for a good cause.

IMG_7635Our theme was “Marvel May for United Way.” We had life size cut-outs of “Avengers” action heroes, which we raffled off. Every year we do a Hot-Dog-a-Palooza where we grill up and sell hundreds of hotdogs and bratwursts, with all proceeds going to United Way. Everyone loves this fun tradition, and we doubled the money that we raised from last year. To tie it all together, the campaign concluded with a 5K fun run/walk on the Jordan River Parkway. It was a beautiful end to a bit rainy campaign!

IMG_2801Hulk2At Hexcel, we really know how to work hard and play hard — all for our community. We know that we can make a tremendous impact on the schools in our area, and that even the small donations make a difference. These monthly payroll contributions make it possible to help UWSL do important Collective Impact work in our Community so that kids and families succeed in school and in life.

Thank you to all of the Hexcel volunteers that put in so much time and effort into making our UWSL campaign a success and for LIVING UNITED!