How to: Ask for a Pledge Importance of CEO Support: A meeting before the campaign begins is a great way to make sure he or she is fully on board. Once you have the support, your CEO can be helpful in a number of ways. 1. Send a request letter to all employees. Having your CEO make the ask is often an effective way to increase your campaign. A sample letter can be downloaded here. 2. Encourage your CEO to send reminder e-mails during campaign. Our e-mail messages can help your CEO craft e-mails to remind people of the importance of their gift to the community through United Way. 3. Get your CEO involved in your incentives. Have the CEO offer his or her parking space, company suite at a sporting event or company car for a winning donor. Or, your CEO could host cocktails or dinner at his or her house. 4. Send a thank-you letter to donors. After the campaign, a personal "thank you" is best. A CEO letter is another good way to make employees feel appreciated. Five Steps to a Successful Peer-to-Peer Ask: United Way research shows that a peer-to-peer ask is the most effective way of asking for a pledge. Sincerely communicating your commitment to supporting the community through United Way really does make a difference. Leaving pledge cards in employees' mailboxes and hoping they will be returned is not recommended. 1. Be prepared. Show your commitment to United Way by increasing your pledge before soliciting co-workers. It is much easier to ask others to do what you have already done. Watch the campaign video to see stories about people who have been helped by United Way, and be familiar with facts about United Way. Finally, personalize your employees’ pledge cards. 2. Approach the donor. Get the donor's undivided attention. Consider catching the donor on a break. Explain the purpose of United Way and why you support it. Bring United Way materials and be prepared to explain them. Share a personal story or United Way facts. 3. Ask for an increase. With new givers, ask for a first-time gift. Consider asking for a specific increase, such as $1 more a week or pay period. 4. Handle concerns. Know your materials and answer questions honestly – never guess. If you don’t know the answer to a question, let the donor know you will find out and then follow up with your United Way representative. Recognize that some donors have real concerns; people have a right to feel good about their gift. 5. Say thank you. Regardless of what the donor decides, thank them for their time. People like to know their gift is appreciated. Making a Group Ask: Many companies ask their employees to donate in a group setting. Ideally, this ask would be complemented with the peer-to-peer asking described above. Company rallies are a great way to introduce employees to United Way and ask for a donation. Use these tips for a seamless ask: 1. Determine who will make the ask. Many companies choose their CEO to make an ask during the rally. He or she can discuss why your company chooses to support United Way, your company goal, and the impact United Way has on our region. 2. Invite a professional speaker. Companies that have a United Way representative have increased participation rates. Consider having a United Way representative at your rally. These speakers will enhance your company ask by giving the personal side of the United Way. You can request one of these speakers by filling out the electronic forms provided with this toolkit. 3. Distribute pledge cards or inform employees how to pledge. One of the best ways to ensure your employees give is to offer them a chance to do so while they are actually at the rally. Hand out personalized pledge cards at the rally and hold an incentive drawing for those who turn them in. Or, inform them how they will receive their pledge card and ensure they’re distributed immediately following the rally. 4. Make the ask. Let your employees know that giving to United Way is an effective and efficient use of their dollars. Ask them to give. Sample Script for a Company Ask: "Thank you again for taking the time today to join me to learn more about United Way. I hope that you found our speakers and the United Way video as moving as I did. I wanted to share a personal story with you (insert story)… or I want to share a story I recently heard with you… (insert story). "When you realize that United Way impacts one in every five people living in our community, you start to understand the incredible reach our dollars have when we give to United Way. We have set a company goal of (insert dollar amount), and while we want to reach that goal because we're a great, strong company that strives to reach all of our goals, we also want to reach that goal because we understand that our gifts help the entire community. "I believe that we are all impacted by United Way in some way. I already told you my story. And, I’m sure many of you have yours. Some of you may not even know you've been impacted, so I encourage you to take a look at your brochure and read the list of agencies supported by United Way. With 70 agencies and one in five people in our region helped by United Way and their member agencies, I have no doubt that most of us in this room today have been touched by United Way at some point in their lives. "I invite you to join me today in supporting the entire community through United Way. Your gift will have an impact. Thank you."
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