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For questions or concerns, please contact us at 330.683.8181 or email


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Great Ideas for Incentives

Track your Goals
One great way to motivate employees is to publicly track your goal.

  • Place United Way goal thermometers around your workplace – the lobby, break room, in front of the building, etc. Update the thermometer every day.
  • E-mail goal updates to employees – this can be paired with “United Way Success Stories.”
  • Have the CEO or another member of management wear the same tie throughout the campaign – as you get closer to your goal, cut the tie accordingly until, hopefully, it disappears.

Provide Fun Activities

When employees turn in their (completed!) pledge form, they can be automatically eligible to participate in fun activities such as:

  • Football Throwing Contest. Can be divided into men’s and women’s groups, management versus labor, etc. Everyone gets two throws. Farthest throws win prizes.
  • Pumpkin Throwing Contest. You will need several pumpkins weighing the same amount, as the thrown pumpkins will probably explode!
  • Balloon Pop. Employees choose a balloon to pop. Some balloons have “coupons” in them for “Sleep-in” passes, “Go Home Early” passes, “Two-Hour Lunch” passes, etc.
  • Marshmallow/Lemon/etc. Golf. Who can drive a lemon the farthest? Closest to the pin? On one leg?
  • Frozen Turkey Bowling Contest. Borrow old pins from a bowling alley, or use 2 liter bottles of pop. Set up an alley in your parking lot or a long hallway and let the games begin!
  • Paper Airplane Flying Contest. Employees show off their best plane-folding skills. Everyone writes their name on their plane, stands in a line, and lets them fly. Awards for longest flight, shortest flight, etc.
  • Tricycle Races...
  • Guess the Number of Marbles/Cotton Balls/Bolts in the Jar. When pledge forms are turned in, employees make a guess. At the end of the campaign, the winner is determined and receives a prize.
  • Prize Drawing. Line up several prizes (see the next page for ideas). When pledge forms are turned in, employees draw for a prize.
  • Special prizes for NEW donors. Consider providing special incentives for those employees who are giving for the first time.
  • Special prizes for donors who increase their gift by a certain percentage.


Consider the following motivators if your workplace meets or exceeds its goals:

  • Designated employee shaves a member of management’s head. If your workforce meets a “stretch” goal, the CEO gets shaved!
  • Management provides breakfast/pizza party/afternoon BBQ.
  • CEO/other member of management dress up as … Check out costumes at the local costume shop and choose the most outrageous one to promise to your employees.
  • Car wash by management.

Hold Special Events
The primary purpose of special events is to help create a fun atmosphere during the workplace campaign while raising additional dollars beyond employee pledges. We want this to be a time of year that people look forward to, not dread!!

  • Inter-Company Competition! – Contact the Employee Campaign Coordinator at another workplace and see if they are willing to engage in a little friendly competition for a good cause! If there are a disparate number of employees, you can use the average gift to determine the victor. Publicity and executive support are key to success. The winning company earns early dismissal, or some other workplace-wide reward.
  • Inter-Department/Shift Competition
  • Sell Root Beer Floats, Sundaes, or Hot Dogs for $1 in the lunchroom.
  • Theme Days – 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, etc.
  • Midnight Breakfast – If your organization has a third shift, organize a $3 breakfast to be served by executives who aren’t normally at work at that hour! Ask a United Way representative to join you, hand out pledge forms, and announce goals and timelines.
  • Bake Sale – Bakers can set up shop in the lunch room.
  • Car Wash – Hold a carwash as a special event and charge $3.
  • Chili Cook-Off - Invite departments to submit their own chili entries and let all employees taste and vote for prizes.
  • Group Wellness – If your workplace is participating in a wellness program, you can incorporate it into the United Way campaign. Collect pledges for every 1000 steps taken, or have management pledge a bonus United Way donation if employees meet certain wellness goals.
  • Basket Auction – Individual departments can create a themed gift basket (fishing, movies, cooking, car care, etc.) to be auctioned off over a lunch hour.
  • E-Bingo! – Sell Bingo cards for a small fee. Send emails throughout the week with one or two Bingo numbers each time. The first person to get Bingo sends an email to all users. And of course – he or she wins a prize!
  • Caring Company Cookbook – Ask employees to contribute favorite recipes for a company cookbook which can be compiled and sold in the lunch room.

Give Out Prizes 

Many businesses in town are happy to contribute small prizes for your employees. Also discuss what funds or incentives are available through your employer. Prizes don’t need to cost much to help employees have fun with the campaign.

  • “Sleep-in” pass
  • Floral bouquet
  • Homemade cookies
  • Gift certificates/cards – restaurants, salons, gas, oil change, golf, etc.
  • Tickets to athletic event
  • Free night at local hotel or Bed and Breakfast
  • Car rental
  • One full or half vacation/personal day
  • Prime parking spot for a week/month
  • Casual dress for a week
  • Movie tickets
  • Free popcorn at the movies
  • Items available from United Way Worldwide:
  • Anything else you can think of that would appeal to your employees