United Way and Maritz Reinvent the Corporate Giving Landscape

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United Way of Greater St. Louis and Maritz Motivation Solutions team up to increase average corporate gift by 29 percent.

The secret to successful corporate giving often eludes even the most sophisticated fundraisers. In St. Louis, an innovative approach goes beyond the traditional ask. The 44-year partnership between the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Maritz continues with the implementation of a two-part, innovative incentive program that has driven an increase in employee participation and boosted the average corporate gift by 29 percent among hundreds of St. Louis companies over the past year.

"Along with running one of St. Louis’ top United Way campaigns, Maritz has once again generously donated $150,000 worth of time and incentives to create energy around this year’s drive," said R.J. Crunk, Senior Vice President, Resource Development for the United Way of Greater St. Louis. "The incentive program they provided really helped take our campaign to the next level and raise a record $72 million last year for our community."

The two-part approach starts with a merchandise incentive program available to select businesses, designed to spur campaign results in areas of participation, Leadership Giving and average gift. Each company can decide how to use the merchandise packages to incent employees to donate.

"Maritz understands that people are the key to driving business results, and we are applying that same expertise for United Way, so their team can encourage giving in creative and innovative ways," said Steve Maritz, Chairman and CEO at Maritz. "It’s fitting that our partnership with United Way now includes a science-based incentive program that keeps people at the center of the campaign. In the end, it’s people who give and people who benefit."

By offering a ‘5 days, 5 prizes’ raffle, Wells Fargo Advisors raised $2.2 million in the first five days of its pledge cycle. "Our 2012 campaign totaled $4.3 million — a $377,000 increase over 2011. We really appreciate how the incentives have helped boost our campaign to record breaking levels," said Kristen Polchinski, Community Engagement Manager at Wells Fargo Advisors.

The second aspect of the program was designed to incent St. Louis companies partnering with United Way. Every Employee Campaign Coordinator (ECC) who exceeds their company’s goals by a certain threshold from the previous year* is eligible to be one of 10 people selected for Run-Through-the-Warehouse® (RTTW). During the one-minute RTTW, selected winners go on a free-for-all to grab as much merchandise as their cart will hold. The value of the items is then tallied, and the runner gets to spend the earnings on a collection of over 3,500 purposefully chosen rewards. United Way has seen some winners opt to donate rewards back to their companies to use for incentives in the next year’s program. In 2012, 160 ECCs qualified for RTTW; those 160 companies saw an average 10 percent increase in their overall giving from 2011.

In addition to exceeding fundraising targets, the program boosted the number of individual givers at local companies. In 2012, participating companies saw a 15 percent increase in employee participation. Rosemary Ganey, the 2012 ECC for Peabody Energy, shared these results: "Last year, Peabody saw an amazing 84 percent of our employee population pledge, and we ended up exceeding our pledge goal by 17 percent. I think we reached these impressive stats in part because of the head start from Maritz incentives."

To build on the success, United Way and Maritz have made some tweaks to improve the program’s effectiveness. In 2013, Maritz will train 325 ECCs on how to use incentives to augment United Way campaigns. The rule structure also has been adjusted to reward the companies that are donating higher amounts with additional chances to win the RTTW sweepstakes.

For more information and an infographic on the evolution of the program, visit http://www.maritz.com/United-Way-Merchandise-Incentive-Packages.

About United Way of Greater St. Louis

United Way funds more than 170 health and human service agencies located throughout a 16-county area in Missouri and Illinois. One in three people in our community receive services that strengthen families, help the elderly, keep children healthy and safe, and build stronger neighborhoods. For more information, contact 314-421-0700 or visit http://www.stl.unitedway.org

About Maritz Motivation Solutions

Based in St. Louis, Maritz Motivation Solutions is part of the Maritz family of companies. It offers full-service employee recognition, sales incentive and channel loyalty programs to U.S. and global companies. Maritz Motivation Solutions provides reward strategy and fulfillment for consumer loyalty programs and delivers best-in-class rewards and fulfillment services, including purposefully chosen merchandise and experiences that excite, motivate and recognize people around the world. The people who work for Maritz Motivation Solutions are dedicated to being the best in the business, fun to work with and their clients’ most valuable ally. For more information, visit http://www.maritzmotivation.com, subscribe to our blog or call 1-877-4-Maritz.

*Threshold was different for each company and was based on personal goals and benchmarks.

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Christi Dixon
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