In August of 2011 we kicked off our Annual Fundraising Campaign with the spirited and motivational words and song of Barbara Dooley, mother of the University of Tennessee football coach and United Way supporter. As the planning began, there was much concern of course about the goal. Our economy is down, joblessness is still high, and United Way was beginning a competitive grant making process. Aware of these added fundraising challenges, our campaign chair, astute business woman, conservative planner, Pam Fansler, president of First Tennessee Bank’s East Tennessee region, guided her team and advised the board to use a different approach in goal setting this year. An ingenious multi- level approach to success was created. Each level would be a success: Silver, $11,500,000; gold, $11,750,000 and platinum $12,000,000! As we progress from one level to the other the more people we can serve, the more programs we can fund, the better community we can create. On January 26 our board declared victory with a silver total of $11,621,000!!
It is amazing how many people have been involved in this rewarding work, raising funds for our community. Hundreds of individuals and many organizations joined together to bring success to this campaign. Joining our chair to ensure fundraising success was the Campaign Cabinet. Our 2011 chair recruited these volunteers in the spring, several months before the kickoff; they began working together at that time to prepare for this year’s campaign…completing their work only when the campaign closed. This speaks to the level of commitment our volunteer leadership demonstrated.
In August, the campaign cabinet was assigned a team of Loaned Executives who worked tirelessly beside them to meet the fundraising goal. These volunteers are community leaders who served as a circle of support for our chair. They were responsible for the majority of funds raised in employee workplace campaigns. They were our sales team!
The Branding and Messaging committee staffed by board members and community volunteers invested an abundance of creative energy and countless hours to market the campaign. Innovative projects, such as the on line auction, Pilot Pumpers, Downtown United for United Way, Give $5, Tell 5 and more contributed not only to the financial goal but to the excitement that surrounded the campaign,
Our media sponsors, Citadel (now Cumulus) Broadcasting, the Knoxville News Sentinel, WATE, WVLT, WTNZ and WBIR helped us share stories that tug at the heart…stories of those who have been the recipient of the resources provided by the funds that have been raised in this campaign…..These stories make real the work that these resources fund.
New and old strategies were used in this years’ campaign. One initiative, having a long term benefit, was the founding of the United Way of Greater Knoxville’s Women of Tocqueville initiative which is for women who are giving at the $10,000 level and above. Forty-nine women joined this group as founding members. In keeping with the focus of United Way, the Women of Tocqueville has chosen to mobilize resources to improve Education and Early Grade Literacy as they reach out to local Women of Influence who want to be a part of this exciting work.
The generosity of our community, and our volunteers, and the incredible leadership of our campaign chair, Pam Fansler, ensures that community agencies and their programs will be supported. Gratitude is such a small word to use to express the overwhelming appreciation of United Way for the outstanding outcome of this campaign.
Assistant Dean, Pellissippi State Community College, Magnolia Campus
United Way of Greater Knoxville Board Chair