UW News

July 6, 2006

UW Combined Fund Drive looking for a few good people

UW News

William Shakespeare may not really have been thinking of recruiting departmental coordinators for the UW’s fall Combined Fund Drive when he wrote that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

But you know — he might as well have been.

After all, greatness — great generosity and lending a helping hand to great area charitable agencies — is what the UW’s Combined Fund Drive is all about, no matter how one comes to find it. Last year, that generosity from UW staff and faculty totaled $1.6 million in donations to charities via the fund drive.

But while that was a record-setting total of dollars, last year showed no increase in actual employee participation. So it’s all the more important this year, organizers say, to find the best CFD Coordinators for each unit, who can turn that trend around and get more people participating for an even higher donation total.

The 2006-007 UW Combined Fund Drive kicks off Oct. 4 and runs until Dec. 4, but campaign organizers are hoping to get CFD Coordinators in place campuswide by early July. The coordinators begin training in September.

In a June 22 letter to deans, directors and department chairs, Executive Vice President Weldon Ihrig and Executive Vice Provost Ana Mari Cauce spoke of the importance of appointing people with the right talents to this high-profile but part-time position. They stressed that good CFD Coordinators should have strong leadership qualities and project management skills, be able to think creatively and strategically and execute campaign strategies, and should have a sound understanding of the needs of their unit.

Ann Sarna, an associate treasurer in the UW Treasurer’s Office, is one such Combined Fund Drive coordinator, and while most will be appointed to their roles this year, she’ll be stepping forward voluntarily, as she has in the past. Why? Because she likes both the work and the overall goal.

Part of Sarna’s enthusiasm for the Combined Fund Drive stems from the fact that she used to work for Jewish Family Services, one of the many nonprofit agencies that receive help under the umbrella of the fund-drive. “I realized that as a recipient organization it was really important to keep the program going.”

Sarna and other organizers said over the years they’ve noticed that new employees aren’t seeming to understand and support the drive; it often takes them a couple of years time at the UW before starting to donate. Sarna said, “One of my goals as coordinator is to increase the awareness among new employees of the Combined Fund Drive.”

Some CFD Coordinators, like Sarna, will step forward without prompting. Others may need a nudge from above (see “greatness thrust upon them”).

But in any case, as Sarna said, the work is rewarding in more ways than one. “I’m a strong believer in the drive. People at the UW are a compassionate group and care about more than just themselves but the community around us. This is a way we can contribute and help people less fortunate than ourselves.

“And you can make it as fun and easy as you want it to be,” she added.