VIU fundraiser reaches new height

University raises $30,000 for United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island.

As the 2011 United Way campaign comes to an end at Vancouver Island University, Adrienne Wanhill, the school’s loaned representative to the campaign, sends out one last e-mail to her co-workers, with the subject: $30,000 – thank you to everyone.

Thanks to individual donations from 149 employees, money raised through special events and contributions from VIU faculty association and CUPE, VIU raised $30,000 for United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island – a 50 per cent leap over 2010’s $20,000 amount.

As a VIU loaned representative to the United Way for the last six months, Wanhill’s position was entirely funded by the university, allowing her to take a leave from her regular position at the Campus Career Centre during the campaign.

Adding another member to the fundraising team, without having to incur the cost of an additional salary, is invaluable to the United Way.

“Keeping down administrative costs means more of the money raised is invested back into the community,” she said.

The campus campaign ran almost entirely online.

Weekly Tuesday trivia required employees visit the United Way website and educate themselves about funded organizations and programs to find the answer and win a prize.

Regular blog posts about Wanhill’s visits with organizations such as Literacy Nanaimo and Haven Society, answered the question of where does the money go.

“The most rewarding experience of the campaign was the opportunity to meet with United Way supported organizations,” said Wanhill. “Blogging about these meetings allowed me to capture stories from the front lines of social service, and share clearly, sometimes graphically, how United Way and the dollars raised make such an impact in our community.”

Wanhill recommends her colleagues consider supporting the United Way through the loaned representative program.

She points to benefits from the experience of being more active and engaged in the community and at the workplace.

Newly acquired skills and a fresh perspective are brought back to their position when they return to work, she said.