Special Events & Incentive Ideas

Make your United Way campaign fun and engaging with one or more of these fundraising ideas. First, ask your co-workers what they would be most interested in participating in and decide what would make sense for your organization. Don’t forget to plan ahead and promote your events and incentives with emails, verbal reminders and/or posters!

Quick ideas for events and fundraising ideas:

  • Basket raffle: Departments purchase items to fill a basket around the theme of their choosing. Raffle tickets are sold and winners of each basket are chosen at a campaign event. Department with the most popular basket can also win a prize. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Mustache Mania: Designate a “Mustache Mania” day. For a $2 donation, employees can purchase a mustache and designate a co-worker to wear it on that day. If they “opt-out” they can return it for $4. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Ice cream social: Purchase or have ice cream and toppings donated. Management scoops the ice cream and employees are asked to pay $2 a scoop. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Jeans day(s): Employees pay $5 to wear jeans for the day. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Yard sale: Ask that employees donate items. All proceeds benefit United Way.

Go the extra mile with more elaborate ideas:

  • Organization cook-off: Choose a theme or food category and ask employees to contribute dishes to the cook-off. Dishes are judged and also offered for lunch to all employees at a fixed price. At the end of the event, a winner is chosen and all proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Flower/plant sale: Talk to a local greenhouse or vendor and have flowers and plants donated. Decide when and where you’d like to have your event and establish pricing. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Live or silent auction: Solicit items to be donated and hold an auction at your workplace. Popular items include sporting events tickets, sports memorabilia, donated vacation packages, gift cards, wine/food baskets, and vacation days (with approval from human resources). All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Pet photo contest: Ask employees to bring in photos of their pet and pay $5 to guess which employee the pet belongs to. Winners receive a gift card to a local retailer or restaurant. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Carnival games:
    • Dunking booth: Rent a dunking booth for your kickoff or carnival and determine who will get in the booth. Establish a cost for tossing the balls. All proceeds benefit United Way.
    • Pie in the face: Recruit executive staff to be the recipient of pie(s) in the face. Purchase items needed to make whipped cream pies (and lots of paper towels!). Charge staff members $2 to throw a pie. All proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Scavenger hunt: Decide on a theme and whether it will take place inside or outside. Employees are asked to pay $5 -$10 to play. The first team back to the starting line with all items collected/photographed wins a prize and remaining proceeds benefit United Way.
  • Sports tournament: Choose a popular sport in your workplace like flag football, softball, bowling or volleyball. Establish multiple teams within your organization (or compete against another organization). Players pay $25 (or a set team price) to be on the team and receive a t-shirt. Decide on a prize for the winning team and be sure that each team plays at least two games in the tournament. All proceeds benefit United Way.

Fundraising incentive ideas
Ask that these items be donated by your organization, local vendors, retailers and/or restaurants. Give them away or raffle them off to encourage your co-workers to donate.

  • Breakfast or lunch
  • iPod or iPad
  • Lottery tickets
  • Movie passes
  • Parking space
  • Passes for jeans or casual days
  • Pizza party
  • Gift cards
  • Tickets to sporting events
  • Time off
  • Use of an employee’s vacation home

Have other ideas you wish to share?  Send them to us at info@cuw.org so that we can include them for others to use!