Guest 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.