On a hot day in early August….
“Oh,” she said in that ‘I pity you’ tone of voice, “It is getting to be that time of year.”
“What do you mean?” I said.
“Well, that time when you have to go ask people for money.”
For many of us who head into not for profit work we do it with this caveat, “I don’t want to have to fund raise.” And yet, the amazing work done by non-profit organizations around the globe cannot be accomplished without that pesky material resource, MONEY.
Since coming to work for UWWC, I have found the campaign season fascinating. From the first time I was allowed into the Procter & Gamble plant (after viewing the obligatory safety film, donning a hair covering, safety glasses and strapping on some really fashionable protective shoes) I got to see firsthand the process of making dish soap right down to loading the finished product in boxes that come to my neighborhood store. Seeing the operation was pretty cool, but what impressed me even more was how proud the P&G employees were of their product, their plant and their involvement in United Way. I’ve never met a group so excited about dish soap (wish I could get some excitement like that around my kitchen sink at home).
I have seen the innards of Nebraska Furniture Mart with stacks upon stacks upon stacks of huge product (I never knew forklifts could go so high). I have ventured into the Kellogg plant where nearly every Cheezit snack is made in the U.S. I love driving out each year to visit my friends at Berkel & Co. Inc. at their Bonner Springs headquarters where they create foundations for major structures all over the world. Just last spring I finally got the tip to tail tour of the GM plant where everyone was hard at work transforming pieces of metal, plastic and glass into brand new cars in less than a day’s time. There is some amazing work happening every day in Wyandotte County.
Where ever I go, I get to meet unique individuals. I work closely with the leaders who step up to run their workplace campaigns and over the last four years, we have become good friends. I get to meet the workforces at these different places, and over time some of their faces have become familiar enough that we can recognize each other away from work. Some of these have tough questions for me which I am happy to answer and others may have a priceless personal story to share of how a United Way agency made a difference for them.
I enjoy my work as a fundraiser. I believe that people are generous at heart. All of us give a little here or there for this cause or that but United Way provides an intentional way to perpetually give through one’s workplace. I love sharing with everyone how investing in United Way makes so much sense for their generous spirit.
So yes, it is that time of year again. I am away from my desk frequently, meeting new people, cultivating valuable relationships, and, for the good of this community, asking for money…..and loving it.