Department Volunteer Resources


Ten people of various races all wearing a white tshirt and holding cards that spell out the word volunteer

What is a Department Volunteer?

Department volunteers do two things - they spread the word about the Campus Campaign and the United Way of Douglas County, and if time allows they organize a fundraiser within their department or unit. Flyers can be left in the break-room, a speaker can be invited for a staff meeting, or a big event can bring staff together for team building and a good cause. A department volunteer can devote a few minutes to the role or significant amounts of time, it is completely up the the volunteer and their supervisor. Employee time spent on the United Way campaign is permitted on the KU campus.

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With your help the KU family can make a Difference in Douglas County

Workplace Fundraising ideas

Below are ideas for some fun events that can be managed in an office, hallway, staff lounge or even remotely! Use your imagination and make it fun!

Pot Luck Party

Invite your co-workers to a potluck party! Everyone brings a dish to share. To make it easy divide foods by last name A-H bring desserts, I-P bring salads, Q-Z bring side dishes. You and one other person offer to bring the main dish and the paper goods.
People attending the potluck pay an admission fee to attend and all the money goes to the United Way. If people want to eat but didn’t want to bring a food item, charge them a non-participation fee and raise more money!
People filling plates from a variety of pans of food on table

Coffee or Afternoon Break

Same as above, divide up who will bring pastries, fruit and coffee or for an afternoon snack, trail mix, veggies and dip or chips and salsa. Everyone pay a dollar or two to eat!
3 people leaning on a rail while talking and drinking coffee

A Day of "sacrifice"

Have everyone bring their coffee from home instead of stopping at Starbucks, or have everyone bring their lunch one day and eat in the breakroom instead of going out to lunch. Ask everyone to donate the money they saved that day to the United Way.
Give text on wooden block and large jar containing coins with the message donate on outside

Silent Auction

Find a desirable item for a prize – a case of wine, a gift basket, a leave early on a Friday coupon from the boss, a signed KU basketball. Display it in a central area for a length of time to get everyone’s interest. If you know someone with a condo in Colorado or a car dealership, think big!! A silent auction involves leaving a bid sheet in the same prominent display area as the prize. Require a minimum bid and then interested bidders simply write down their name and a higher bid than the previous bid. You must have an exact time the silent auction will end so the winners will be ready to battle right up to the last minute! Silent auctions are fun if there are several items to bid for at the same time!
Tiny notes stuck to a board

Community Project

Offer to bring a community project to the office that would benefit a United Way Partner Agency. People who participate are also likely to donate later.
Open cargo space in a car with many colorful bags containing items from a emergency preparedness project.

More Ideas

Hold a croquet, Frisbee, horseshoe, or bean bag toss tournaments on the lawn of your building. Players pay an entry fee to play or gets a sponsor.  Offer a prize of leaving early or taking a long lunch - with the boss's approval of course!

Buy a roll of tickets and sell each ticket for $5 or $10. The winner of the drawing gets to park in the boss's reserved spot for a week! This can also be offered in a silent auction

Everyone can bring some items from home. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Put all the items in the conference room. Anything left over should be donated to a United Way agency such as the Willow Domestic Violence Center.

Put something a in glass jar or vase. Pennies, M&M’s, marbles, Jolly Ranchers, you get the idea. People pay a dollar or two to write their guess on a slip of paper. On a pre-determined day you read the guesses and the winner is the person who guessed closest to the number. The winner gets the jar and the contents! Be creative

You can get together as a group and decorate main areas of your space. Charge admission to the public for little ones to come by and trick or treat.  Employees dress up in costume. You would need to have easy public parking for this one!! Give away candy, pencils or stickers

While everyone is dressed up have a costume contest. Employees pay a fee to be dressed up for the day. People vote for the best costume and have a prize for the winner!

You will need to get your hands on balloons, string, slips of paper (with prizes printed on them) and a helium tank. Tour around local retailers, explaining who your group is and why you are raising money — see if they would like to donate prizes in exchange for some free advertising at the event.

On the actual day itself, put the prize slips inside your balloons and then fill them with helium. Attach the pieces of string. Every balloon should have a slip inside so that they all look similar, even if it says nothing more than thanks for participating. You might want to keep all the balloons the same size and color for consistency.

As you sell the balloons for a set price, tell people to hold on to them until they've all been sold. At that point instruct everyone to pop their own balloon and see what they've won — it should be fun watching the different methods people use to do this. The winners can then be awarded with their prizes.

Everyone in the building decorates their office door for Halloween, Fall, thanksgiving or winter holiday. Sell voting tickets to the staff. Put envelopes outside each office door and employees can vote for the most clever, the scariest, the most eco-friendly, etc. have prizes for the top 3 doors and put up certificates by the doors to declare the winners!

Everyone wear the ugliest sweater they can find. Sell ballots for the United Way. The Winner can take their ugly sweater off for the rest of the day while the "losers" keep theirs on!

Obviously, ask the boss if he/she would like to participate! Sell raffle tickets for at least $5 or $10 each. Who wouldn’t enjoy one on one time with the boss?!?  Hopefully the boss will also foot the bill, if not, have something delivered to the office for this special lunch !!

Many options for this one. Have people submit baby photos (for a fee) have people vote with dollars for the “cutest” “chubbiest’ “most improved” 

Or, have people vote for who they think the photo belongs to!

Between two departments or two schools, this could be a big deal! Have large collection jars for each unit. The rules of the battle are simple. You would like your group to have the highest number at the end.

Each penny is worth one point and counts “positively” toward a group’s point total; each silver coin or dollar bill gets points based on its value  (a nickel is worth five points, a dime is worth 10, etc.) but counts “negatively” towards the other group’s totals. So, in a competition between departments employees who want their office to win will place pennies into their own buckets and dollars and silver coins into other department’s buckets.  In some penny wars, the dollar bills are counted positively along with the pennies. The only drawback to this event is you need to sort and count coins. The money needs to be in bills to be deposited with the United Way.

Combine bingo with a luncheon and you will have a great time with your coworkers. Offer prizes for the winner of each game.