So back to the United Way, despite their great cause to further the communities in which we all live, work, and play, they were not getting the exposure from the youth or the working middle class. It was the wealthy corporate executives that had some money to stash before paying taxes or even the life long giver that was taught the value of community back in the 1930's. With this new campaign, it became cool and trendy to "Live United". With the ingenious marketing scheme, there were suddenly teenagers, college students, and young professionals wearing the "Live United" tee shirts around town on any given day. At least in the circle of friends that I have, and in the Columbus Ohio Community, I have seen a large swing to get involved both from a volunteering and a financial perspective.
|"Live United" Campaign|
We also changed our internal marketing to include messages from not only from Partners and executives, but we also used our peers to spread the cause and education the employees on the programs of the United Way. We developed a United Way kickoff event where we described how small changes in your spending habits for one day per week could go a long way in helping United Way. For instance, if a person gives up Starbucks/Red Bull once a week ($3-4 per week) this would result in a donation of $192 a year, which the United Way could turn into a week of preschool education. Or if you packed a lunch ($10) once a week, it resulted in a donation of $520 per year, which the United Way could turn into 15 visits to a Wellness Center for someone in need. Breaking it down into elements that people understand and it makes sense. Just like the "Live United" marketing campaign. It helps when you have incentives too.
You want to know more about those incentives don't you? There are not grand in scale by any means and are certainly not an increase in salary or extra vacation days (However if I get a 1% boost in my salary I could give that to charity, hint hint). However, they are things like Jeans Days on Fridays, Bagels for the Office one day per month, or that our Office Managing Partner, Craig Marshall, and the United Way Sponsoring Partner, Eric Schreiber, both do the annual "Jump into Mirror Lake". For those that are not familiar with the jump into mirror lake, it's a tradition that started in the 1990's where Ohio State Students would jump into Mirror Lake on the Thursday before the game versus arch rival "That School up North" (click the link if you don't know the school's name, I cannot bring myself to type it out, but it's the school name on the right). The game is played at the end of November so if you are not familiar with Ohio weather in November, it is typically just above freezing (32F or 0C) so the water is extremely cold. Why people want to do this I don't know, but no one questions it, because its tradition, and it's awesome. See picture below for a photo of the famous E&Y Plunge.
|L-R Columbus Office Managing Partner, Craig Marshall and United Way Sponsoring Partner, Eric Schreiber|
Entitled: "Brothers from another mother"
In addition, the United Way has many giving societies for donor recognition based on your giving level and certain basic demographic information. To compliment those societies, we created the A.C. Ernst Society, (aptly named after Alwin C. Ernst, founder of Ernst & Young back in 1903 and considered the "father" of management consulting) which is for all employees of the Columbus Office who give at least 1% of their current salary, or who promise to increase their donations over a 3 year period resulting in a 1% donation level. Members of this society are treated to an elaborate dinner and celebration at Craig's house, which if you have ever been to, is the perfect place to host such an event. There is also a lot of wine, which always helps. We currently have an admirable percentage of our employees as a part of this society and it certainly can be felt come campaign time.
Also, I could not go without mentioning another way that we have been able to create interest and support for the United Way, is through the use of teams. For the past three years, we have split the office into eight teams with an equal number of people and the first team to reach 100% participation has won a lunch or happy hour with Craig and Eric.
I have shown a list of the winning captain for each of the three years of the team competition below.
2011 - Tyler Schleich*
2010 - Tyler Schleich
2009 - Tyler Schleich
That's right, a 3Peat, just like my beloved Los Angeles Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002. ! I could not have done it without the support of my team members from each of those years. Whether they really wanted to give or they did not want to get anymore emails, voicemails, phone calls, etc from me and deciding to make their pledge. Also, you proabably noted this year has an asterisk. That is not because I used performance enhancing drugs, but because I had help on the ground in Columbus while I was down here in Sao Paulo Brazo participating in the E&Y Fellowship.
A special thank you goes out to Michael "The Enforcer" Bowman.
In all seriousness, I would like to thank the rest of the Ernst & Young United Way Committee for another job well done:
Craig Marshall (OMP), Eric Schreiber (Sponsoring Partner), Celina Hardy, Jeff Harden, Andrea Hecht, Femi Adeyanju, Becky Kavka, Angie Haag, Beth Schindler, Stacy Zhang, and Michael Bowman.
Also a thank you to this year's 2011 Winning Team for getting their pledges in early:
Mark Blawas, Amy Burke, Kevin Grove, Cassy Guth, Jen Hutson, Kyle Kaufman, Michael Bowman, Karen Macrina, Bob Moreland, Paul Naumoff, Tim Neff, Brett Nobles, Lisa Readout, Jessica Verhotz, Jon Weaver, Jessica Wipperman, Brian "E6" Zehentbauer, Sean Johnson, Megan Payne, and Alex Criss.
|E&Y employees participating in the United Way Community Cares Day|
(L-R) Maureen Westrick, Tyler Schleich, and Chris McFarland