Giving Campaigns Go Digital -- United Way of Metro Chicago

Our corporate partners are supporting their neighbors through virtual volunteering events, too. Employees from UPS united to craft hundreds of masks for our community partners and the people they serve. Other donors have been coaching job applicants for their upcoming interviews, collecting goods for new parents and their babies, and more.

Like most things, nonprofit fundraising looks a lot different these days. 

Instead of meeting our incredible corporate donors face-to-face in their offices or on the job, United Way of Metro Chicago’s yearly fundraising campaign has gone virtual. 

Between co-leading the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, our team has been busy creating new ways to share United Way’s impact and connect our donors to the community. 

“We would love to shake our donors hands and share the stories of neighborhoods at an in-person campaign event, but unfortunately we can’t do that,” said Anna Edwards, our Vice President of Corporate Engagement. “So, instead, we had to get creative and find others ways to stay connected during this time. It’s pushed us to be more thoughtful fundraisers and communicators.” 

Though their office giving campaigns have changed, our donors’ desire to connect with their neighbors and colleagues hasn’t faltered. In fact, it’s grown tremendously, Anna noted. 

“Because they’re working remotely and staying at home, our corporate donors don’t have chats at the water cooler or after-hour get-togethers where they can build community with each other and boost morale,” she said. “Rallying together for a United Way giving campaign is an activity all employees can do together. It’s unifying and serves a greater good. Corporate Chicago needs that right now. We all need that right now.” 

Last week, employees from Caterpillar joined us for a group video call to learn how their investment is making a difference in the lives of their neighbors. They heard from a few of our community partners who spoke about the programs and people United Way supports, including a Lake County reading program and parent ambassadors in Cicero. 

In a video, Silvia, one of the parent ambassadors, shared how she and other volunteer caregivers take local teens on their first museum outings and help elementary students learn to read. Recently, with support from the Response Fund, they were also able to put money right in the hands of local families for groceries and household needs. 

“Our team really appreciated the time United Way took to explain the inner workings of the organization with us,” said Wajiha Azher, a Total Rewards Consultant with Caterpillar, a United Way partner. His company hosts a United Way giving campaign each year. 

“The awe inspiring stories have really motivated the group to donate we noticed an uptick in the participation the day after!” he noted. “Thank you for transforming our donations into true improvement to our communities.”

Future campaigns will also feature many new Campaign Toolkit materials, like Silivia’s video, making it easier for companies and organizations to host a United Way campaign virtually. 

Check out some of the materials for yourself!

        • Meet Charles Matthews, our 2020-2021 Campaign Chair, in his welcome message
        • Read about the challenges and success of 2019-2020 in our latest digital Impact Report 
        • Learn about the tough financial choices our neighbors make in our Walk In My Shoes interactive simulation
        • Test your knowledge of the Chicago region with this quick quiz

Is your company interested in running a United Way campaign? Contact Donor Help @