For the Office of Human Resources (OHR), planning for the Pitt United Way Campaign doesn’t begin with the fall kick-off. Aynsley Jimenez, functional lead, and Diane Bartus, administrative coordinator—who together manage the campaign for OHR—hold meetings throughout the year to brainstorm ideas.
“We’ve also done surveys to ask what our OHR employees are willing to participate in,” said Jimenez. “Should it be after hours or during work? Is it an activity or a fundraiser?”
Their surveys showed everyone has unique requests and preferences, which can provide its own challenge, as OHR has more than 70 employees. Their solution?
“You do a little bit of everything and hope for participation,” said Jimenez.
Making participation enjoyable
One of OHR’s most popular events is an elimination-style bracket-based bean bag toss tournament. Events took place in the spring and fall of 2019 and employees could contribute $10 to participate; they also had a fundraising lunch for spectators of the event.
Kelly Gilliam—who worked on the campaign with Bartus and Jimenez before joining the Office of Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement to manage the Pitt United Way Campaign fulltime—helped Jimenez spread the word.
The event took place during lunch hours over several days. “I think everyone had a blast,” said Bartus, who noted that as the word spread, people outside of OHR participated. Overall, they raised over $1,200 for the campaign through special events.
OHR also recruited external involvement for the 2019 Day of Caring. In addition to sponsoring the day’s breakfast, a group of employees from TIAA, which manages Pitt’s employee retirement solutions, joined around a dozen OHR employees at Hosanna House.
“It’s important to highlight that it’s [supporting the Pitt United Way Campaign] not just a financial contribution,” added Nichole Dwyer, communications director for OHR. “We’re trying to make it enjoyable for people to volunteer their time for the United Way.”
New ideas, involvement and leadership
One of the new volunteer options OHR participated in this year was packing weekend food bags, wherein employees filled reusable bags with pantry essentials to be delivered to school children.
Employees were also excited for another new volunteer option currently being offered by the Pitt Shop at the Pete. For every University employee who volunteers to work at a men’s basketball game, the Pitt Shop will donate $75 to the United Way; several OHR employees have already signed up.
There are also new faces in OHR. Brittany Frund, benefits analyst for health and welfare, recently joined OHR from Pitt Athletics, where she was involved in their campaign. Bartus recruited Frund’s help immediately.
Another recent addition to OHR is Senior Vice Chancellor Dave DeJong, who early on in his transition to human resources invited Jimenez and Bartus to sit down to discuss OHR’s campaign. “We asked him how we can encourage leadership to be more visible and champion the campaign, and he gave us some great ideas,” said Jimenez.
“Over the years, the planning has become more efficient,” said Bartus. “But you also want new people in to bring fresh ideas.”