FirstHealth Completes Record United Way Campaign
January 11, 2010
PINEHURST—In less than a month, the Moore County United Way will close the books on yet another community campaign to raise money to help improve the quality of life in Moore County. Every dollar raised in the annual campaign is crucial to the 22 health and human service agencies to which the United Way provides financial support.
The contributions that individuals make to the United Way impact many people within the community. Many of them may be people we know and love. One may be a neighbor who can’t afford groceries or daycare. Others may be your friend’s child who is heading down the wrong path and feels he has nowhere else to turn or the cousin who is trying to escape an abusive home. Another might even be a co-worker, someone you work beside every day while never realizing how much she relies on the help of a local United Way agency.
Every year, employers within the community rally their employees to join their co-workers in raising money for the annual United Way campaign. Worksite campaigns account for nearly half of the total amount of money raised for the overall community-wide effort, underscoring just how important the contributions of Moore County’s workforce are to the United Way.
As the largest employer in Moore County, FirstHealth of the Carolinas is a major contributor to the United Way’s annual fundraising push. This year, FirstHealth employees contributed an impressive $95,026 to the Moore County United Way. That’s more than 16 percent of the total goal for the entire community campaign and an all-time record for employee contributions to the United Way.
“Even in these particularly difficult times, when so many people in our community are in need, it is so rewarding to see how an organization can come together to raise money for the United Way,” says Linda Pearson, executive director, Moore County United Way.
“The United Way is grateful for the generosity shown by FirstHealth employees,” Pearson continues. “Their contributions, combined with donations from other companies and individuals, are making a great impact toward improving the quality of life for so many people in our community who are struggling with issues of life.”
According to Vivian Harrington, vice president of Community Services at FirstHealth and chairperson of its internal fundraising drive, the keys to the organization’s successful campaign were a focus on leadership support, employee education of the United Way and how it operates, and communication as the campaign progressed.
“As a large employer in the community, we are in a position to conduct a campaign in a manner that may be difficult for smaller employers,” says Harrington. “However, the elements of our campaign that made this year’s effort such a success can’t be attributed to the size of our organization alone. Any employer, regardless of its size, can generate the record-breaking success that we were able to obtain simply by engaging its employees in the campaign.”
As campaign chairperson, Harrington’s first order of business was to gather the troops to form a campaign Advisory Committee and departmental captains made up of representatives from varying areas of the organization.
“It’s often difficult to communicate a message across a large workforce such as the one we have at FirstHealth,” says Harrington. “That’s why it was so important to gather employees from as many areas of the organization as possible and equip them with the knowledge, passion and tools to carry the campaign to their fellow co-workers.”
Not only did FirstHealth have a record year for total contributions, but the total number of its employees contributing to the campaign also rose by more than 50 percent—an impressive statistic to which Harrington credits the efforts and support of the Advisory Committee and designated department captains.
“The Advisory Committee and designated department captains really got behind the cause and brought enthusiasm and excitement to the campaign,” says Harrington. “Our campaign was just two weeks long, so we had to create a lot of buzz in a short period of time.”
The short timeline for the FirstHealth campaign was intentional, and the idea was to create a sense of urgency around contributing to the cause. If employees turned in their donation by the two-week deadline, they were eligible for a number of prizes that the Advisory Committee came up with.
Don’t be fooled by thinking that expensive prizes have the biggest appeal, Harrington says. The most popular incentive had very little monetary value but was worth a lot to most employees—one-month access to the parking place of the employee’s choice. Twelve prime parking spots, one for each month, were awarded to 12 lucky contributors.
Harrington also had the full support of the health system’s CEO and members of its leadership to conduct a first-rate fundraising effort, an element that she says is vital to the success of any internal campaign.
FirstHealth CEO Charles T. Frock agrees. “FirstHealth’s participation in volunteer initiatives and workplace giving programs demonstrates our commitment to the communities where our employees live and work,” Frock says. “We are all proud that FirstHealth’s employees are strong supporters of the United Way. Their generosity embodies the FirstHealth mission to care for people.”