Jennifer Downie

Team Saanich scores United Way win

Two employees at the District of Saanich got a United Way Spirit Award for running a massively successful workplace campaign

Two employees at the District of Saanich were honoured last month with a United Way Spirit Award for running a massively successful workplace campaign to support the Greater Victoria charity.

Brandy Rowan and Jennifer Downie, administrative assistants to the mayor and chief administrative officer, say that while they chaired the municipality’s campaign, it was a group effort that made it successful.

“Everyone was willing to pitch in. It wasn’t like pulling teeth,” Downie said.

“Our goal was just to get more information out about United Way and make sure that people were more educated, through presentations at the hall, at public works, the fire department, police department,” Rowan added.

Downie and Rowan received the Outstanding Employee Campaign Chair Spirit Award, recognizing outstanding leadership that resulted in significant growth in campaign results.

In 2012, Saanich employees raised $28,000. In 2013, that jumped to $42,000.

Money was raised by signing on 58 new donors, plus creative fundraising endeavours that involved upper management.

“We did a car wash – we had the mayor and CAO (Paul Murray) washing people’s cars. The mayor did an old, dirty van, and Paul had to wash someone’s bike,” Downie said.

The Saanich police chief and deputy chief also were willing to auction off their primo parking spots.

“What was done in the past wasn’t working. We tried to come up with ways to raise more money, create new ideas and get people excited,” Downie said.

Brittany Decker, director of community campaigns with the United Way Greater Victoria, said the two chairs did a “phenomenal job” engaging staff and getting them on board for the campaign.

“It’s so crazy how much they did. And they had a lot of fun, too. And they told their employees to come up with their own ideas,” she said. “They really looked at recruiting volunteers across the organization. It’s amazing how many people it takes to make this come to fruition.”

Decker said other organizations can take Saanich’s lead in ensuring their campaign is a success. That starts from the top and works its way down.

“One of the biggest things is they had support for the campaign at all levels, from the employees who work at job sites, right up to the mayor and CAO,” she said. “That’s really unique to Greater Victoria. We have such a close-knit community. It’s nice to see all levels of community and all levels of the municipality supportive of this campaign.”

Rowan said garnering support for the United Way wasn’t a hard sell in Saanich.

 

“(The United Way is) part of our community, it’s a part of Saanich. It’s important to the health and wellness of our community and social growth,” she said.

“It’s so crazy how much they did. And they had a lot of fun, too. And they told their employees to come up with their own ideas,” she said. “They really looked at recruiting volunteers across the organization. It’s amazing how many people it takes to make this come to fruition.”

 

Decker said other organizations can take Saanich’s lead in ensuring their campaign is a success. That starts from the top and works its way down.

“One of the biggest things is they had support for the campaign at all levels, from the employees who work at job sites, right up to the mayor and CAO,” she said. “That’s really unique to Greater Victoria. We have such a close-knit community. It’s nice to see all levels of community and all levels of the municipality supportive of this campaign.”

Rowan said garnering support for the United Way wasn’t a hard sell in Saanich.

 

“(The United Way is) part of our community, it’s a part of

Saanich. It’s important to the health and wellness of our community and social growth,” she said.

“It’s a great organization to support.”

 

 

The United Way raised $5.8 million from workplace drives and individual donors during its annual campaign. The money will be used to support community programs through more than 100 local agencies.