Campaign guide and tools

Thank you for choosing United Way of Dane County as your philanthropic partner of choice! We connect the dots between the change you want to see in our community and those who make it happen. United Way helps engage employees, develop team members and retain top talent.

Every minute and dollar we invest in our community will help stabilize families and make our community stronger. With your help, we can move toward a Dane County where everyone can succeed in school, work and life.

We are grateful to you as an Employee Campaign Manager for going above and beyond to engage your employees and raise funds for our community. Please use this page as a step-by-step guide to plan, execute, promote and celebrate your United Way of Dane County campaign! Download this fillable Campaign Planning Worksheet to record your plans and share with your United Way liaison.

If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please reach out to us. We’re here to help!

Get to Know United Way

Whether this is your first year running a campaign or you are a seasoned pro, these materials will help you understand why your campaign is so important and show you the impact your dollars make. Learn about:
 – United Way of Dane County’s mission and our impact.
 – Our community’s Agenda for Change, a road map for family stability and mobility from poverty.
 – United Way 211, Dane County’s most comprehensive health and human services database.
 – Our commitment to racial equity – United Way of Dane County publicly recognizes racism as a public health crisis, understands racism as a root cause of inequity in our society, stands in total opposition to all acts of racism and discrimination and is actively working to become anti-racist.


Recruit Your Campaign Team

Recruit a team to help make your campaign as successful and stress-free as possible. Team members provide great ideas, support for your campaign and will help you create a more engaging and compelling message. Recruit from all areas in your organization:
 – Include different departments
 – Consider unique skills such as communication, creativity and energy
 – Include varying seniority levels on your team
 – Ask your CEO and other leaders throughout your organization to help on your campaign team

Register your Campaign Team for Campaign ThinkTank! Join us to see the newest campaign tools, learn best practices to enhance your campaign results and connect with other ECMs! 

Thursday, August 11  |  12:30 – 4:00 pm  |  Hooper Corporation

Set Your Goal

One of the most important first steps to planning your campaign is setting your goal. A well-planned goal should generate excitement and participation throughout the campaign. Use the tips below to set your goal.
 – Be Ambitious but Realistic: Provide your coworkers with an attainable goal to reach. 
 – Assess Prior Year Data: Review number of donors, average gift and campaign total.
 – Identify Potential Growth: Increase participation and existing gifts. Look for opportunities to increase support through corporate matches, corporate gifts or sponsorships!
 – Communicate Goal to Leadership: Share your recommendation with leadership and gain approval to move forward with goal.
 – Share Your Goal with United Way: Send your goal to your United Way Liaison.

Nail Down Logistics

Setting your timeline and nailing down how you will share your content should be done as early as possible to ensure a smooth campaign.

Set your start/end dates and kickoff events and communicate them with your United Way Liaison. Determine the length of your campaign, whether you will host in-person or virtual events and the dates for those events.

Provide convenience for your employees through ePledge or prep a data file for personalized paper pledge forms to share with your Loaned Executive after your first meeting.

If employees are making a pledge through payroll deduction, to the extent allowed by your employer, United Way of Dane County can accept pledge forms that have a digital signature. Please include both sides of the pledge form when submitting. Pledge forms can be emailed to or mailed to: PO Box 7548, Madison, WI 53707-7548


Plan Your Activities

Use the resources below to create a successful campaign. A strong campaign should include an educational element, an empathy-building element and an exciting element. Keep it simple and fun using the tools below:

Include one or more special events in your United Way Campaign to help promote team spirit, raise awareness around community needs and increase your campaign total. 

Educate and engage your employees by utilizing a customized engagement. These have been built to help employees understand the obstacles our neighbors in Dane County live through each and every day.

Provide a safe volunteer opportunity for employees. Encourage your employees to participate in Seasons of Caring, utilize to find opportunities or request information about corporate volunteer opportunities through the Business Volunteer Network.

Add incentives for attending meetings, submitting pledge forms or increasing annual gift to encourage participation. 

Target Your Audience

It’s important to communicate to all groups at your company throughout the campaign. Use these tips to thank donors, encourage participation in United Way groups and engage new audiences.

Thank past donors at the beginning of the campaign. Past donors are the base of your campaign, let them know you appreciate their support and encourage them to renew and increase their gift.

Promote donor networks and affinity groups throughout the campaign. These groups are focused on bringing together like-minded people and making a difference in Dane County.

  • Lead United is our new donor network cultivating community-minded individuals to lead in their workplaces, in our community and through their philanthropy. This group of local leaders is invested, compassionate and focused on understanding Dane County’s critical issues and achieving professional growth. Donate $1,000 or more per household to become a member of Lead United. Donors can also join through the Lead United Step-Up Program – donors give $500 this year and commit to grow their gift to $1,000 over 3 years.
  • Women United is a diverse circle engaging women as an emerging and powerful philanthropic force. This group is impacting and investing in the future of the community through education.
  • LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) is a volunteer-driven group that learns about the issues facing our community and personally helps make a difference. It is an opportunity to elevate your community, connections and calendar through unique volunteer events, then connect over food and drinks!

Retirees – Invite retirees to continue giving with your organization’s campaign to keep them connected with your events and increase the impact of your campaign.

New Hires – Include campaign information and a pledge form when onboarding new employees. This shows your company’s social responsibility and invites new employees to start participating before your annual campaign.

Communicate to Workforce

Having a clear communication plan is key to a successful campaign. Use the tips below to keep your campaign fun and top of mind with your employees.

Decide how often and what type of communications you’ll be sending. Some examples include CEO Endorsement Communications (could be an email, letter or video), invitations to United Way Events or craft an email campaign. 

Use Social Media to spread the word about your campaign. Follow and tag us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Send participation levels and dollars “in” to date to keep working towards your campaign goal through your intranet or an email. If you have successes, share on social media and tag @unitedwaydaneco!

What's Next?

It’s never too early to begin planning for next year. Consider year-round engagements and get involved with United Way outside of the campaign.

And save the date for Community Celebration on March 1, 2023 at Monona Terrace!

Share and participate in United Way events and communications, connect on social media and make 211 resources available year-round.

89% of employees believe that companies who promote or sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment that those who do not (2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey).

    • Share with staff. Encourage staff to volunteer throughout the year.
    • Join Business Volunteer Network to connect with other volunteer focused companies, get connected with exciting volunteer opportunities for employees and develop tools around promoting workplace volunteerism.

We appreciate all your work with raising funds and awareness for programs that make measurable results in our community. Please take this time to add your service and accomplishments on your Resume and LinkedIn.

One of the most comprehensive professional development programs in Dane County is at United Way! Consider the Loaned Executive Program for your employees.

Loaned Executives join with a group of other self-starting, community-minded leaders, partnering with corporate and nonprofit networks to learn more about our community’s needs and contribute to making a positive impact.

What is a loaned executive?
Your employee works as an extension of the United Way team for four months and finishes the program with a fresh, new set of high-demand skills, including business planning, customer relationship management and public speaking

Who is a loaned executive?
An employee who is a self-starter with potential for growth. This person is a role-model and a highly enthusiastic individual in your company. Successful Loaned Executives are skilled in fundraising and sales, problem solving, project management and teamwork – and have an interest in growing their personal and professional network. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience is preferred, as well as the desire and ambition to grow as a leader.

Contact us for more information at

Print & Digital Assets

Contact us for help identifying employees’ interests, coordinating events and volunteer opportunities that match those interests and meet community needs, and to make meaningful connections to nonprofits across our communities.

Haley Canik, Director, Development Operations & Data Management
(608) 246-4390,
Payton Jones, Coordinator, Development Operations
(608) 246-4356,

Communications Toolkit