Employee Coordinator Spotlight
JEANETTE CROWLEY, POLK COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Jeanette Crowley, Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships for Polk County Public Schools, is entering her ninth year as the district’s Campaign Coordinator for United Way of Central Florida. She was also named the United Way of Central Florida Employee Coordinator of the Year for the 2021 Campaign.
Crowley has come up with some of the most creative ideas our team has seen. So we asked, and she agreed to share some of her great tips and ideas to running a successful United Way workplace campaign.
UWCF: Thank you for agreeing to share, Jeanette! What are some of the favorite fundraisers you’ve come up with for your employee giving campaign?
JC: One of the most popular events I created was called “Keep It or Cut It”. I came to this idea because if you know me, you know that I’ve always had long hair and I was passionate about wanting to donate to Locks of Love. I started thinking about how great it would be if every piece of that process was related to giving back, so I began to plan. The event itself was a fundraiser for the United Way campaign with funds raised as votes for the 4-6 weeks leading up to the cut. I also knew I wanted to support a female business owner, so when it came time to coordinate, I made sure to include her in the cut and reveal. It turned out to be a huge success, raising over $2,000, and the best part is that every piece of it was something that gave back. We also planned a second event called “Save It or Shave It” with several big United Way supporters offering to shave their longtime beards for a good cause.
We have also provided barbecue lunches and hosted other various holiday events. One of my favorites is our door decorating contests. We partner with Chick-fil-a to get breakfast donated and offer the staff the chance to come get free breakfast when they vote for their favorite doors. The “voting” is done with spare change. During this time, we bring in Santa Claus and staff can take photos with him. This is always very festive and popular. Before we leave for winter break, I also invite Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa or other licensed massage therapists to provide chair massages for employees. We just ask for a minimum donation, and then offer 10-minute sessions.
UWCF: Those are all great ideas. It seems like you do so much! How do you find ways to make all of this happen? Do you have a budget for your campaign?
JC: No, I don’t have a budget specifically for the campaign. But I find that there are plenty of places who will sponsor things for a good cause. You just have to ask! Also, one important thing to remember is that appreciation can happen at any price point. So, if you have sponsors, it’s good to thank them on social media posts, handwritten cards, and any other way that helps recognize them and bring them attention. We also try to use them on our posters, photos and in the media.
UWCF: Are there any final words advice you would offer to other EC’s?
JC: One of the best ways to get creative is to have a committee to help plan campaigns. Relationships matter and I truly value everyone involved. I try to engage as many people as possible. Having support from the top is extremely helpful, too. Superintendent Heid has supported us in so many ways—from volunteering to be one of the “Save It or Shave It” contestants, to being a big part of helping us create a “Fred Heid” bobblehead to raise funds.