Charitable campaign coordinators' work clever, effective

By Ali V. Adams

Enthusiastic State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) coordinators at UT Southwestern went above and beyond this year to help increase participation campuswide with activities such as raffles, ice cream buffets and a costume challenge.

The result: More than $420,752 was raised to support charitable organizations, an 8.6 percent increase in donations over last year. Twelve percent of UT Southwestern employees participated in the campaign, compared with 10 percent a year ago.

Ron Doris, campaign coordinator in the Department of Physiology for the 2009 State Employee Charitable Campaign, found a "fruitful" method of stirring interest among his fellow employees.

Charlotte Williams, senior recruiter in human resources, kicked off the campaign for employees in her area by hosting a breakfast. Throughout October, Ms. Williams held a different SECC event every week to remind employees to give. Her Skittles guessing game, silent auction and foot-long chili cheese dogs encouraged 85 percent participation in her area.

Some people are swayed by food; others by competition. Rebecca Wong, marketing manager in the Office of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs, pounded the pavement looking for raffle prizes to encourage her team to give. Restaurant gift certificates and a month’s worth of yoga were among the prizes given away.

“Our employees really wanted to win,” Ms. Wong said. “When we got together to draw the winners, you could feel the competitiveness in the room. The raffle helped us achieve 49 percent participation in our department.”

Ron Doris, administrative manager in the Department of Physiology, went bananas during the campaign – literally. To get employees in his area to give, he promised to wear a banana suit for four days if they exceeded their goal. His enthusiasm for the campaign is personal.

“The American Red Cross helped me and my family when I flew Cold War aerial surveillance missions for the United States Air Force,” he said. “I have never forgotten that small act of kindness. That’s why I gave to the SECC and encouraged employees to do the same.”

After the Department of Physiology met its goal, Mr. Doris wore the banana suit.

“Given the difficult economic environment in 2009, we’ve had an amazing show of support for others from the UT Southwestern community,” said Dr. Gordon Green, professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics, and chair of the UT Southwestern effort. “I’m so proud to be associated with these great folks who chose to help their neighbors through these upstanding charitable agencies and who are speaking with one voice through our annual campaign.”

Members of the 2009 SECC Steering Committee were Patricia Thompson, senior administrative associate in internal medicine; Donna Richardson, associate vice president for nursing services and chief nursing officer for University Hospitals; Dr. Joan Reisch, professor of clinical sciences; Eileen Parker, executive assistant in the Office of Health System Affairs; Dr. Bruce Meyer, vice president for medical affairs; Kyla Martin, director of internal communications; Rita Koger, director in the Office of the President; Ruben Esquivel, vice president for community and corporate relations; Tim Doke, vice president for communications, marketing and public affairs; and Dr. William Behrendt, vice president for human resources.

UT Southwestern employees surpassed the campus goal by nearly $21,000 in the 2009 charitable campaign.