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Employee Engagement and Event Activities

If you’re looking to take your annual workplace campaign for United Way to the next level, consider incorporating one or more of these group volunteer and workplace event ideas to bring some awareness raising and fun to your fundraising. To learn more about any of the activities and ideas listed on this page, contact your United Way Partner or email donorengagement@uwgt.org.

Volunteer activities

Now more than ever, vulnerable people in communities across Peel, Toronto and York Region are struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis that will have long-term effects.  Building awareness through group activities, such as volunteering, taking a tour of a neighbourhood, having a discussion about the issues facing our communities, or hearing stories of people’s whose lives have been changed by United Way help to inspire people to take action and donate.  Here are some ways you can engage:

Book a Day of Caring®  

United Way’s Day of Caring program offers employee groups a variety of community volunteer opportunities to get involved in our work.  While we are still required to maintain social distancing measures, we have several virtual volunteer opportunities that you and a group of your colleagues could take part in.  Here are just a few to consider:

With growing anxiety and isolation across our communities, there is an increased need for mental health support especially for vulnerable seniors. A small gesture that can help to reduce social isolation for seniors can be done right from your home office or desk. Volunteers can write a note to an isolated senior. To learn more about this activity, click here.

You and a group from your workplace can help to address the unignorable issue of unemployment by helping to conduct mock interviews with newcomers and job seekers online. You will help them to build confidence and familiarize themselves on what to expect within an interview process. To learn more about this activity, click here.

Mentoring and coaching sessions enable new Canadians and job seekers to meet with established professionals for conversations to discuss topics such as, building professional networks, navigating the Canadian job market and making industry connections. Volunteers meet with job seekers online and help by reviewing and providing feedback on resumes, suggesting effective job search strategies, answering questions and offering advice. To learn more about this activity, click here.

More than ever, individuals and families are having difficulty covering all their essential costs and pay for basic healthy food. Groups of volunteers can help to improve access to high-quality, affordable, nutritional, and culturally appropriate foods in communities where the needs are greatest. To learn more about this activity, click here.

DIY (Do-it-yourself) Guides: Volunteer from Home

United Way’s DIY guide offers fun, creative and flexible ways for you and a group of your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours to show some local love for community from the comfort of your own home. The guide provides you with the list of the supplies you’ll need, instructions on how to put the products together and directions on how to donate them to a United Way agency in your community. Activities such as, putting together a family meal kit, making homemade masks, creating COVID-19 protection kits, making kits for kids and baby essentials kits, needs that have grown because of the recent pandemic. To learn more about these activities and more, download the volunteer from home guide here.

Group activities

Interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the community agencies that UW invests in and the critical work that is helping to address issues in our community? Community Tours are an excellent opportunity to learn firsthand about the people, programs and services that are offered across Peel, Toronto, and York Region.

Hearing a personal story from a United Way Speaker is an excellent way for employees and donors to learn how donations are used to build a better, stronger future for our region. Invite a United Way speaker to speak at your campaign kick-off, town hall, lunch and learn, or other fundraising events. Speakers bureau volunteers are available to present virtually and share their stories of working the frontlines and of lives changed because of the donations made to United Way.

You can see more great stories and videos on our website. If you can’t invite a live speaker, you can use one of our inspirational videos and stories at your campaign events to build awareness of issues facing our community.

Living on a limited budget is tough and for those living in poverty making the month can be a difficult challenge. Try MaketheMonth.ca, the first online poverty simulator in Canada, on your own and with colleagues and see if you can make the month. Raise empathy and awareness about poverty in our local communities by doing this activity in a group followed by a discussion for people to share their learning and thoughts about the experience.   Download the facilitation guide to help you guide your discussion. 

Join or participate in an event

United Way Greater Toronto offers event opportunities for every audience over the course of the year. Whether looking to run an event for your workplace or to join a United Way public event, there are so many reasons to have special events as part of your workplace campaign.

Whatever your reason, a great event is a balance of three components:

  • Fun: Will your event boost engagement, build enthusiasm and bring your colleagues together?
  • Fundraising: Is your event designed to bring in funds? Will you need to offset any costs of running the event?
  • Awareness: Will this event build awareness of your campaign, United Way and your company's values?

TIP: Run special events after your pledge drive, otherwise your colleagues may feel like
they've already given before they have had the opportunity to pledge.

Workplace event ideas

Think your co-workers are a super talented bunch just waiting for their moment to shine? Host a virtual talent show and ask them to record and upload a 2-3 minute video of themselves showcasing their talent (think singing, playing an instrument, doing a magic trick, juggling fruit or body contorting into a pretzel!). Encourage people to vote for their favourite act by donating, where every donation is a vote towards selecting a winner. The act with the highest dollar amount raised wins! To raise even more money, consider asking for a registration fee from all the contestants, or asking executive leadership to sponsor a contestant, and have it count towards their total money raised.

Online auctions work similar to in-person ones, and the concept is simple - the highest bid wins! Besides offering a variety of unique and useful items, remember to also include services (when the situation permits) and virtual experiences. Encourage your co-workers to donate popular items (gift cards, wine and spirits, gift baskets, etc.), as well as unique and rare ones (sports memorabilia, autographed items, virtual coffee with a prominent person within your organization, etc.) People are more likely to support and bid if it’s for a good cause, so variety is key.

Get your coworkers to take part in a virtual challenge while raising money for United Way. Have your co-workers commit to doing something physically challenging for every $10 they raise. Ten push-ups for every $10? Yes! Climb ten flights of stairs? Go for it! Run a mile? They can do it! Did someone say burpees?! Not only does it inspire people to keep active and moving, it can create fun, friendly competition amongst everyone involved, not to mention all the feel-good endorphins! Encourage them to add a personal touch to it by filming themselves doing the challenge and feature video clips in your e-mail communications or intranet to inspire others to participate or donate.

To learn more about these and other events that you can run virtually at your workplace contact your United Way partner or email unitedwayevents@uwgt.org

Join a United Way community event

With no set-up and tear down required, United Way public events is a great and easy way for you to team-build and challenge your colleagues all in support of building stronger communities.  Visit the Events page for more information.

Accessibility training

We invite you to complete accessibility training that complies with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Read the accessibility training document (PDF).