Connecting business and community: the power of United Way Workplace Campaigns - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Connecting business and community: the power of United Way Workplace Campaigns

November 14, 2023


From enhancing employee engagement to nurturing a shared sense of community, local organizations (and communities) reap the benefits of United Way workplace campaigns. 

In today’s rapidly changing world, businesses are acknowledging the interconnectedness of a healthy community and a healthy business. Understanding that long-term sustainability goes beyond profit margins, there is a growing recognition of the importance of contributing to the community. More companies are adapting to meet the demands of the modern era by investing in their communities, realizing that a thriving community creates a thriving business environment.

This concept is at the core of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), an organizational commitment to responsibly manage the social, environmental, and economic impacts of operations in line with public and employee expectations. In this shifting landscape, businesses are realizing the importance of aligning with their employees’ personal values and social purpose needs.

United Way of the Alberta Capital Region’s Workplace Campaign program offers organizations a powerful platform for social change.

Amber Petersen, team member at United Way, says a workplace campaign goes beyond helping an organization fulfill their CSR goals. “Campaigns also play a pivotal role in uniting employees, strengthening teams, and nurturing an organization’s shared sense of community in a meaningful way.”


Collective action for a common cause

Workplace Campaigns are typically annual, employer-sponsored programs that combine employee giving programs with volunteer, learning, and other participatory opportunities.

Whether a large-, mid-, or small-sized organization, workplace campaigns unite employees and stakeholders (both unionized and non-) from across an organization’s departments, portfolios, offices, or branches around a shared cause: building a strong and vibrant community where no one is left behind.

Organizations across various sectors, including private, public, non-profit, and labour, can run campaigns. By participating in campaign opportunities to donate, volunteer, and advocate, leaders and staff are strengthening the connection to each other, their organizational values, and their community.

Primoris Services Canada, a relative newcomer to United Way Workplace Campaigns, began their journey after attending a golf tournament hosted by Enbridge as a part of its workplace campaign. Inspired by the impact of such initiatives, Primoris decided to start running some of their own smaller office events and have slowly began incorporating United Way more and more into their work and culture. This fall is their 2nd formal workplace campaign, and they’re now hosting a charity event every month of the year! Chris Woods, Vice-President of Field Operations, says the decision has been transformative for the organization. “Our participation in an annual campaign allows Primoris to educate and inspire changemakers within our business and community at large.”

Funds raised by organizations through United Way Workplace Campaigns stay 100% local, benefiting and strengthening the communities we live in. Contributions are invested in high-need and high-impact areas that support both responsive solutions to immediate needs in crisis situations and long-term systemic solutions for lasting change.

Cultivating culture

A Workplace Campaign goes beyond mere fundraising. It’s a journey that enhances employee engagement, elevates job satisfaction, and bolsters the sense of purpose within an organization. As employees embark on a shared mission, they build bonds, forge new networks, and refine their leadership skills.

In an age where we are more reliant on all things digital, Workplace Campaigns offer unique in-person engagement opportunities essential to helping employees stay connected with each other and with their community. “We have more technology than ever to keep us connected to each other and yet people feel more isolated than ever,” says Petersen.

According to Woods, Primoris’s workplace campaign has propelled a meaningful shift in their company’s culture. “With certainty, our partnership with United Way enhanced our employee experience through a common purpose that extends well beyond traditional business measures,” he says.

Petersen emphasizes that United Way is dedicated to supporting the delivery of each campaign to ensure employees and stakeholders get the most out of the experience. From mentorship and experiential learning opportunities to immersive experiences customized to meet your social impact goals, United Way helps to nurture organizational culture, foster teamwork, and celebrate the diverse skills of people within each workplace.

“Campaigns can be whatever you want them to be,” she says. “They can be tailored to your organization’s culture and don’t have to stretch your team’s capacity. We’re there to help you meet your goals, on your terms.”

Healthy community = healthy business

The connection between a strong community and a thriving business is clear. Just as a healthy body depends on the strength of its cells, a business relies on the strength of the community in which it operates.

“As an organization, our eyes and hearts have opened to the need within our communities,” says Woods. “With greater knowledge comes an increased passion to contribute to social services that will help the communities that have been so instrumental to our success to flourish.”

Petersen echoes these sentiments and shares an example. “Think of a small town with a vibrant community. If its core is bustling with events and activities, local businesses like restaurants, shops, and theatres will benefit because more people will visit and spend money there. When a community flourishes, businesses within it prosper.”

For Primoris, supporting United Way’s work is more than a charitable gesture, it fulfills a greater organizational need to create lasting, positive change in the world. “Our mission includes providing the communities we serve with innovation and excellence,” says Woods. “Our valued partnership with United Way will help us deliver on such an important endeavor.”

Redefine your corporate social responsibility

Learn more about how your organization can fulfill its CSR commitments and do local good through United Way Workplace Campaigns.

Learn More About Workplace Campaigns