Life isn’t always as you think it should be, is it? A year ago I accepted a job at the Catawba County United Way. I am the campaign director (the fancy title of the position is Director of Resource Development ) One of the duties of the job is speaking at any company that will invite us to do a presentation during the annual campaign season. This year alone I have already completed over 100 speaking meetings (and there is still a month left of the speaking meetings)
My assumption when I started the job is that the high paid people in the county would be the best donors. Of course there are a handful of large donors. I think that we have 6 individuals that give $10,000. or more. However, I have found that by and large the most generous givers are the people from the floor of the factory. I now have an idea why this is, but I’m not sure that I have a complete grasp of the dynamic that occurs there. I believe that the people who work manual labor may get a sense that their potential for needing the services of one of the agencies of the United Way is high. They are “closer to the fire” as it were. I recently spoke with a supervisor from the local Waste management company here in town. His name is John. John told me that their fund raising had just started and that they were already up to $2,500. I asked John how many employees had turned in their pledge forms so far and he reported that the number included two donors. Both of these donors were trash truck drivers. One had pledged $1,000. and the other driver had pledged $1,500. You know what? I am much more impressed with a trash truck driver that pledges over a $1,000. than I am with a millionaire business owner that pledges $10,000. because for the trash truck driver it is a much larger percentage of his income.
I held 5 speaking meetings yesterday at a company that makes springs for furniture (couches, beds, etc.) Two of the groups were Mexican people. At the end of the meeting I watched to see what would happen. In both meetings 100 percent of the Mexican employees gave. Some gave cash to their supervisor and others turned in a pledge form requesting that money be deducted from their paycheck weekly, but they all gave.
In contrast, I have spoken at Doctors offices with over 100 employees where no more than three or four people decided to give. In fact, at one of the doctors’ offices two of the employees were reading the news paper as I was speaking. And I’m not talking reading the newspaper as it lay on the table in front of them, I’m talking holding it up in front of their face and loudly turning each page as they completed glancing at the page. You know what? I will take meetings at the factory any day over those at the doctors’ office.
In one of these factories ( where they manufacture tape ) there are over 150 fair share givers. A fair share giver is someone who pledges one hour of pay per month or more. We consider a fair share gift to be a very generous gift.
Thank you to the factory workers of our country, to the factory workers of our county. You are the people who get it done. May your jobs be ever secure and may you prosper and live long. You will reap what you sow and I believe you are sowing into the lives of others in a powerful and impactful way.
United Way 2007 Campaign Video - Awesome video clips here