Beyond the workplace campaigns and fundraising events during the United Way campaign, several companies give in a different way by loaning their employees to the organization. The Loaned Executive program offers companies a unique opportunity to contribute to the professional development of a valued employee and offer important human resources to United Way’s fundraising effort.
The idea is simple. For approximately three months, a company loans one or more of their employees to United Way. These employees temporarily leave their companies and become extensions of United Way.
Loaned executives come from many levels of an organization. Among loaned executives working on an annual campaign are retirees, recent hires, management trainees, up-and-coming executives and other community-minded employees.
KeyBank has been a supporter of the program for 25 years.
“In addition to our employee and corporate donations, an investment into the loaned executive program is a way to multiply our investment with targeted resources focused upon attracting additional United Way supporters,” according to president Jim Hoffman.
For the second year, GM Powertrain has loaned Ed Hoover, a member of its management team, to United Way.
“It is tremendous that a company like GM Powertrain would make one of its employees available. It is a significant commitment and a meaningful way to recognize the spirit of giving in a community,” Hoover said.
Kim Sidwell, senior vice president of resource development, said loaned executives are a remarkable asset.
“Loaned executives extend the fundraising outreach vital to the United Way campaign’s success, and our local business support of this program is the critical component.”
The benefits of participation in the program are twofold. The program helps participants grow professionally by broadening their experiences and teaching them about how communities thrive.
“It is a great experience for seeing the need in the community and all the good that the United Way does,” Hoover said. “I would not have known that if I did not have this experience.”
Loaned executives also network with peers and interact with executives at all levels in the local business community.
“The business contacts an employee makes will only benefit their effectiveness and a company’s access in the community. The employee returns to their job with new experiences, skills and confidence,” Sidwell said.
With a lean work force, it may be impossible for a company to loan an employee. Although the most powerful relationship is one where an employee is loaned, if a company is unable to send an employee, United Way offers the opportunity to financially sponsor someone that United Way hires for the campaign.
“Sponsoring a loaned executive is an excellent alternative when a company is unable to provide an employee,” Sidwell said.
Christine Senack is a Toledo-based consultant helping people, businesses and nonprofit groups work smarter together for the greater good. She served as a loaned executive in 1997, sponsored by The Andersons, and in 2007 sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.