Whether you are looking to run an event for your workplace or to join a United Way public event, there are so many reasons to have special events as part of your workplace campaign.

Whatever your reason, a great event is a balance of three components:

  1. Fun: Will your event boost engagement, build enthusiasm and bring your colleagues together?
  2. Fundraising: Is your event designed to bring in funds? Will you need to offset any costs of running the event?
  3. Awareness: Will this event build awareness of your campaign, United Way and your company’s values?

TIP:  Run special events after your pledge drive, otherwise your colleagues may feel like they’ve already given before they have had the opportunity to pledge.

Check out these great activities:

Think your co-workers are a super talented bunch just waiting for their moment to shine? Host a virtual talent show and ask them to record and upload a 2-3 minute video of themselves showcasing their talent (think singing, playing an instrument, doing a magic trick, juggling fruit or body contorting into a pretzel!). Encourage people to vote for their favourite act by donating, where every donation is a vote towards selecting a winner. The act with the highest dollar amount raised wins!  To raise even more money, consider asking for a registration fee from all the contestants, or asking executive leadership to sponsor a contestant, and have it count towards their total money raised.


  • Pick a start and end date for the contestants to register and submit their talent video
  • Assign the duration of the event—an appropriate length of time you know will keep everyone engaged and inspired to support the cause
  • Use free, reliable platforms to upload contestant videos such as YouTube, TikTok or Google Drive
  • Choose the prize the winner gets, such as being featured in your next all staff/team e-mail, getting an extra vacation day, lunch with an executive, or simply all the bragging rights!
  • Encourage contestants to reach out to coworkers, friends and family and ask for support
  • Use appropriate ways to communicate updates and activities throughout the event and encourage more votes/donations, e.g. intranet, Facebook for workplace, email

Online auctions work similar to in-person ones, and the concept is simple – the highest bid wins! Besides offering a variety of unique and useful items, remember to also include services (when the situation permits) and virtual experiences.  Encourage your co-workers to donate popular items (gift cards, wine and spirits, gift baskets, etc.), as well as unique and rare ones (sports memorabilia, autographed items, virtual coffee with a prominent person within your organization, etc.) People are more likely to support and bid if it’s for a good cause, so variety is key.


  • Collect auction items by putting out a call for items, services and virtual experiences
  • Decide on the optimal time to hold the event (consider known project deadlines, other company initiatives, popular vacation time)
  • Promote the silent auction by email, your company’s staff newsletter/intranet, as well as social media, if appropriate
  • Use silent auction site to conduct your auction, such as 32auctions.com or other similar tools, to take care of most of the work. These auction sites will accept bids, let supporters know when they’ve been outbid, and accept payment when the auction has closed. They also offers great tips and tricks on how to successfully run an online auction!

Get your coworkers to take part in a virtual challenge while raising money for United Way. 

Have your co-workers commit to doing something physically challenging for every $10 they raise.  Ten push-ups for every $10?  Yes!  Climb ten flights of stairs? Go for it!  Run a mile? They can do it!  Did someone say burpees?!  Not only does it inspire people to keep active and moving, it can create fun, friendly competition amongst everyone involved, not to mention all the feel-good endorphins!  Encourage them to add a personal touch to it by filming themselves doing the challenge and feature video clips in your e-mail communications or intranet to inspire others to participate or donate.


  • Have your participants register and create a profile explaining what challenge they will be doing every time they hit a fundraising milestone (Teamraiser, other platform)
  • Encourage them to reach out to coworkers, friends and family and ask for support.
  • Use appropriate ways to showcase short video clips of people doing a challenge of their choice and encourage more donations
  • Recognize participants for the effort and sweat they put in to raising funds for UW!

To learn more about these and other events that you can run virtually at your workplace contact your United Way staff partner.

For more special event ideas, click here