The Art of Making Giving Personal
The campaign's success was thanks in part to a broad effort to put a name and face on the campaign – helping employees who are scattered across the state make the connection between United Way and the people it serves.
One of those faces was Elvis Becirovic, a credit & collections supervisor in Sandy, Utah. Born in Bosnia, Elvis’ childhood changed when the country dissolved into civil war. He lost his father to the conflict and lived as a refugee for many years before coming to Salt Lake City, where a United Way agency helped him and his mother adapt to life in the United States. He shared his experience in our company’s United Way video, which was shown throughout the building where he works along with more than 850 other employees.
Elvis’ willingness to share his story really inspired employees to give back. Telling his story had an impact on Elvis, too. "I feel closer to my team," he said. "First, for having shared something so personal with them, and then receiving their support in return."
One of those supporters was Collections Manager Shauntel Paskett, who works in the same building as Elvis. "We’ve all shared an elevator with him or seen him in the break room, and that familiarity really inspired my team to give back," Shauntel said. She was one of 16 campaign team leaders across Utah who rallied their teams to record-breaking results.
While several of those 16 teams had high participation levels, Shauntel’s 92-member team achieved 100 percent participation this year, a triumph she attributes to giving her co-workers real-world examples of how United Way supports the local community.
"I’m a Big Sister in Comcast’s Beyond School Walls workplace mentoring program, and my co-workers have met my Little Sister during her visits," she said. "I reminded them that without support from United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters (which runs the Beyond School Walls program) might not have the support it needs to give kids like my Little Sister a role model."
Cindy Sexton, another team leader, also strived to make the campaign personal, partly by turning it into an extension of her team’s ongoing volunteerism. The field sales manager for Comcast Business helped lead efforts with her co-workers to volunteer at a local women’s shelter as part of United Way’s Day of Caring, which was held a few weeks before the campaign began.
"Seeing firsthand where our pledges would go made a big impact on all of us," Cindy said. "Our team has always been focused on serving the community, but putting a name and a face on the people who would benefit from our giving took our support to the next level."