2019 Sponsored Campaign Representatives focus on community building

a collage of photos of the 2019 sponsored campaign representatives

The 2019 Sponsored Campaign Representatives play a key role in making sure United Way workplace fundraising campaigns are a success

Another workplace campaign season has come and gone, and with it a new cohort of Sponsored Campaign Representatives (SCRs) has transformed from strangers to friends. 

United Way’s SCR program offers a unique professional, personal and community development experience for the leaders of tomorrow. SCRs play a crucial role in providing leadership and customer service to more than 450 workplace campaigns. Well-run United Way campaigns make the greatest impact in helping create pathways out of poverty. 

During our annual fall campaign, corporate partners either sponsor an employee’s time at United Way for 16-weeks or provide financial support for SCRs to be hired. 

SCRs come from a variety of backgrounds, work experience and talents. Some are fresh out of school while others are looking to give back during their retirement. Some are seconded from government workplaces while others are engineers. All are hoping to make our region a better place and help those living in poverty. 

SCRs are integral, supporting workplaces during their fundraising campaign. It’s a mix of a volunteerism, administrative work and event planning. In any given day, an SCR could be meeting with a local business leader, developing fundraising strategies with a workplace committee, referring a sumo wrestling match, volunteering at the food bank, or flipping flapjacks at a pancake breakfast.

Finding Social Purpose

Many SCRs found that working at United Way reinforced their interest in working for a non-profit or in the social sector. 

“I’ve always wanted to work in the social sector. I’ve always wanted to work at a place where I am helping people and making a difference, where even the smallest things like writing an email make an impact,” said Hersh Sandhu, who was seconded from University of Alberta. 

“I have found that I am totally enamored with the way United Way works. It’s the first time I’ve seen a non-profit from the inside out, and I can see the cogs moving. It’s so well built, it’s very strong. I think United Way is very sustainable they know exactly what they’re doing. This is a strong foundation here in Edmonton.” 

Some SCRs have been inspired by their family members’ experience. Once she had started as an SCR, Jennifer Cook (AGLC) learned that her dad had been an SCR back in the 1980s. Both Daryl Hooke and Yvonne Colville joined the team this year after each of their daughters took part in the program. 

Yvonne had previously been involved with United Way through workplace campaigns and loved working with the organization, so she encouraged her daughter to apply. Then, the tables were turned. 

“My daughter said, ‘why not go and be an SCR this year?’ We were both very passionate about United Way. United Way offers great support in the community for people who really need it and they really do good things out there,” said Yvonne, whose daughter Breanne was an SCR during the 2018 workplace campaign. 

Leadership Building 

All the SCRs from the 2019 fall workplace campaign agree that the last four months have changed them for the better. They will be returning to their jobs with a refreshed skill set and a new lens on the city they love. Through United Way, they’ve learned that there is so much more we can accomplish when we work together. 

“Not only are the work skills you learn really important, but learning about your community makes better employees, and better members of society, said Arlene Vaxvick, who was seconded from the Government of Canada. 

Many SCRs have moved up into leadership roles after returning to their usual workplaces and have found that the networking, public speaking and time management skills they honed at United Way will serve them well to make both structural and social change in their organizations. 

“When I returned to my workplace, I displayed renewed confidence, passion and leadership style that helped solidify my role as a leader within Enbridge. Shortly after returning to the Control Centre, I transitioned from an interim supervisor to a permanent one and I believe that my SCR performance, as well as the leadership growth that it facilitated, was a contributing factor in my promotion,” said Michelle Furlong, who was an SCR in 2018 and has since returned to United Way to volunteer on the campaign cabinet. 

Sponsored Campaign Representatives are critical to our campaign success each year, and they greatly impact the work United Way does in the community. We are already recruiting organizations to support this program in 2020. If you are interested and want to learn more, please connect with Dave Chowne at 780-990-1000 or dchowne@myunitedway.ca.