How to Turn Your Workplace Campaign into Your Next Promotion

By United Way of King County Posted on October 7, 2014 In Volunteering

Leanne SangsterGuest blogger Leanne Sangster has worked at United Way for three years in the Brand Management Department and was the co-chair of our internal giving campaign last year. She is currently a loaned executive supporting workplace giving campaigns for the fall.

I suspect around my office I’m known for being a bit of a sucker. It’s rare that I say “no” to helping someone out, and because I know I couldn’t do my job at times without assistance from others I’m (usually) happy to pay it forward. So when our CEO asked me to co-chair the workplace campaign at United Way (yes, we even have a campaign for our own staff), this wasn’t the time to start politely declining.

There are probably many campaign coordinators who are less enthused about being “volun-told” to take on this role, but not only was this experience not so bad, it’s an opportunity to be seized! And because I’m a perpetual list-maker, here is a list of my top five reasons you should embrace your role as campaign coordinators:

  • Visibility: this is your chance to meet your co-workers. Particularly if you’re in an office larger than 20 people, I find it’s hard to meet everyone you work with. During the campaign I engaged with people from every department on our planning committees. And most, maybe even all of them enjoyed being involved.
  • Skillz: yes, that’s right, with a ‘z.’ Show some of your skillz off. Or learn some new ones. Are you a copywriter who secretly plans events? An accountant who is dying to create some inter-office competition for a good cause? An IT guru who midnights as a Pinterest arts-and-crafter? This is your moment! And I loved that I got to mix up my day-to-day projects at work.
  • Be the boss/co-boss: Once my co-chair and I had a theme for our campaign, I started to have a vision of what it should look like (shout out to my co-chair, Gary for the game of Monopoly theme, which was awesomesauce). On a normal workday, I’m not the ultimate decision-maker. Far from it. And on an average workday, I’m certainly not communicating fundraising goals to my entire organization or welcoming each of my co-workers to work sporting a mustache and top hat. But this was the vision we had for our two-week campaign and it was so satisfying to see it come to fruition.
  • Fun: I won’t lie to you; I worked a lot on our campaign. I got in early, I took work home, but I also had a lot of fun doing it. And I think my co-workers had fun attending the events, getting coffee served at their desk by a department VP, and experiencing a fun side to philanthropy. I was like the Santa Claus of fall every time I busted out that paper mustache! It’s a busy time of year for a lot of organizations, so it’s lovely to provide a little reprieve in the name of community.
  • Did I mention visibility? Part two of visibility is that I met with my CEO and our entire Senior Leadership Team. Maybe they knew who I was before, or what department I came from, but now they know my name, my face and a direct sample of my work and work ethic.

So this is your chance (to borrow a phrase) to “lean in.” Take on some extra responsibility but make it your own and who knows, it could result in that next pay raise, a new and exciting project or simply the chance to know the people you work with a little better. And when you hit those campaign goals and realize you were a critical part in improving lives around you, I’d say it’s completely worth it.


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