United Way drive continues in Health Sciences
As Pitt’s main United Way campaign thrust is ending, the University is well on its way to its $650,000 campaign goal. Nearly $416,000 had been raised as of Nov. 7, organizers said.
This year’s official campaign was set for Oct. 4-Nov. 2 but the campaign push is continuing in the Schools of the Health Sciences, where a special effort to increase participation is underway, said Anne Franks, manager of Pitt’s campaign and executive director of administration in Pitt’s Office of Institutional Advancement (IA).
For instance, the School of Nursing plans to continue its efforts until Thanksgiving, said representative Jennifer Fellows.
This year, the health sciences’ campaign is under the leadership of a new co-chair, Everette James of public health.
While Pitt’s campaign is well established, there still is room for change and improvement, Franks said. She is expecting to see an increase in participation this year as a result of efforts to make donating easier for the subset of Pitt employees who don’t work at computers.
Some 85 percent of donations to the campaign are made electronically via www.unitedway.pitt.edu. But, while online donation may be convenient for Pitt employees who spend their time in offices, one size does not fit all.
Franks noted that there was a 500 percent increase in union members’ participation last year due not only to the work of excellent campaign coordinators, but also to some adjustments that made it easier for them to donate.
She said breakfasts were held over several shifts and paper donation forms were offered — alternatives that proved to be better for those workers who spend their days moving around the campus rather than behind a desk.
Similar changes are being made in the Schools of the Health Sciences, Franks said, noting that some of the challenges there are similar. “People are on the run, working varying shifts, often in places like labs,” she said.
In addition, their sheer numbers present a challenge, as does the fact that some departments are spread out in multiple locations.
Last year Pitt’s United Way drive raised $617,161. This year’s final number won’t be available until spring, as donations both from individuals and from special departmental events around the University continue to be counted.
“We never turn down any money that comes in,” Franks said.
Creativity rules when it comes to departmental fundraising events. Franks noted that Surplus Property employees at Pitt’s Thomas Boulevard building held a soup meal fundraiser and challenged their counterparts from the University Library System to outdo their contributions.
Bagel breakfasts are the Learning Research and Development Center’s method.
Fellows said the nursing school is planning to boost participation there by making pledge forms available and offering prizes during a bagel and donut breakfast scheduled for Monday.
In public health, representative Sarah Metz said volunteers donned Halloween costumes and handed out candy along with donation forms to encourage participation. Donations there also are being solicited through “Pittsburgh pigeon flockings” in which an employee may arrive to find his or her workspace covered with photos of pigeons. Victims can purchase pigeon flocking insurance to prevent a recurrence or can donate to send the pigeon flock to someone else.
The Pitt campaign’s final prize drawing for donors is set for tomorrow, Nov. 9. Pledges must be made online or received in the IA office by noon in order for the donor to be eligible for the drawing. Winners’ names can be found on the Pitt United Way web page.
—Kimberly K. Barlow