United Way of Racine County

When I arrived in Racine about a year and a half ago, one of the first organizations to reach out to me was United Way of Racine County. During our first meeting, we discussed their impact, their focus of Building an Educated Workforce and the opportunities to engage InSinkErator’s employees.

We’re learning that today’s workforce is looking for more opportunities to get involved and give back. In fact, a recent survey found that a company’s social and environmental commitment is key to recruiting and retaining loyal employees. This is not a surprise. When people find meaning in their work, they can function at their best. As a business leader, it’s important to find opportunities to develop and strengthen relationships within our community, which in turn creates opportunities to increase employee engagement and build internal teamwork.

After my first meeting with leaders from United Way of Racine County, I was impressed by their desire to develop a relationship that would be mutually beneficial. At the time, we had just started discussing plans for our internal corporate campaign at InSinkErator, which is part of the annual United Way campaign. While InSinkErator has been a long-time supporter of United Way of Racine County — among the top 10 for company campaigns — I thought we could do more. United Way staff met with our staff several times to discuss strategies that they thought might help us to increase our company’s annual contribution.

With United Way’s guidance and the hard work of InSinkErator’s 2016 campaign planning team, we created a customized campaign plan that incorporated four key elements: support from leadership; company presentations; enjoyable fundraising activities; and promoting volunteer engagement.

As president of InSinkErator, I know the support and direction from our leadership team was crucial for success. We immediately started to think about what we could do as a leadership team to inspire folks to get involved. We committed to having United Way staff speak to every InSinkErator employee at both our Racine and Kenosha locations. My goal was not to push employees to support United Way, but to inform them of their impact so they could make an informed decision regarding their investment of time and money. We have found in the past that no one makes the case for impact like the folks leading our local nonprofit agencies. Whenever we can, we ask them to speak directly to our employees. We want InSinkErator employees to understand our community’s needs and have the opportunity to get involved in creating positive change in Racine County.

That’s why we support and encourage our employees to participate in volunteer activities like Day of Caring, Schools of Hope tutoring, Imagination Library fundraisers, youth mentoring and touring Knapp Community School.

The combination of these strategies had a huge impact on our campaign. I’m proud to say that during our 2016 campaign we increased our employee participation by 23 percent, increased employee giving by 32 percent and more than tripled the number of “leadership donors” employees who donate $1,000 or more.

As a business leader, I strongly believe there is value in supporting United Way. I understand the community’s need to support the workforce of today and develop a ready and capable workforce for the future by providing opportunities to gain soft skills and training. Working together on issues that are bigger than any of us individually strengthens our team and also binds us more closely to our community.

When InSinkErator contributes time and money to organizations like United Way, we ensure that we have a ready workforce to hire. We’re trying our best to exemplify what it means to Live United. I hope you will consider supporting United Way of Racine County this year. Start by requesting a meeting to learn more about their impact. Then find a way to give, advocate or volunteer. Together, we create change.

If you want to learn more about developing a relationship with United Way of Racine County, contact Alexa Haigh, vice president of investor relations, at ahaigh@unitedwayracine.org or 262-898-2254.

Chad Severson is the president of InSinkErator.

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