The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 1, 2012

Workplace campaign donations provide majority of contributions

United Way column

By Richard Jarrell
guest columnist

—  

So many times when you see or hear news about the fundraising efforts of the United Way of Southern West Virginia either on TV, radio or here in The Register-Herald, what you hear is stories about our wonderful events — Denim for a Difference, Wonderland of Trees, Fright Night at Glade Springs or one of our golf tournaments.

What you may not hear as much about is the monies we raise through our annual workplace campaign.

Some of you may ask what a workplace campaign is. In a workplace campaign, hundreds of community-minded companies throughout southern West Virginia have granted the United Way access to their employees at their workplace for the purpose of coming in, telling our story and encouraging them to participate in this important and highly worthwhile fundraising campaign.

Participation in a workplace campaign is a great way for your company or organization to reaffirm its mission and values to our community and to bond and unify your employees in support of a common community cause helping those right here in the communities that we all live, work and play in.

We can’t stress enough the importance of these workplace contributions. Last year just over 85 percent of our total contributions received were from employees and their employers. WOW! As the advertising for the coal industry says, “That’s keeping the lights on!”

At the end of the day, the success of any workplace campaign centers on the endorsement of organizations and businesses’ leadership. An endorsement isn’t just saying, “Here you go, folks, if you want to give to the United Way, you can.” No. What we see leaders doing is stepping up and passionately sharing with their teams why it is important to support our communities.

Not only do these leaders speak words of endorsement, but many also show the importance of the work of the United Way by matching employee contributions, effectively doubling the contributions of those employees.

This week I was preparing my notes for a men’s group from my church. We have been talking about our money and how we should approach our finances. One of the points was about how there are times we “need” to make sacrifices. I was profoundly struck by a quote about what a sacrifice is.

It said that a sacrifice is when “we give up something we love for something we love even more.”

So today I challenge each of us with this question, “What is it that we love?” Is it something we drink, something we eat, somewhere we go? Then ponder how giving up that one thing for a day, a week or a month can impact those that we love even more. History has shown us that people in southern West Virginia love people in southern West Virginia and they give to help those in need.

In the coming weeks, Vice Chairman Frank Woods, Executive Director Margaret O’Neal and I will be calling upon local businesses and organizations to tell the story, and encourage participation in our workplace campaign. We are hopeful that if your business or organization doesn’t already participate, you will invite us to come spend time with you and your employees as we strive to make our $500,000 goal.

For more information concerning our workplace campaign, please contact our office at 304-253-2111.

Remember, by giving to the United Way, we can all learn to LIVE AND GIVE UNITED!

— United Way of Southern West Virginia 2012-2013 Campaign chair Richard Jarrell owns the two Chick-fil-A franchises in Beckley and is a member of the Raleigh County Board of Education.