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Omaha Magazine

United in Giving: Physicians Mutual Employees Post Record-Breaking Donation

Oct 01, 2021 01:58PM ● By Dawn Gonzales
man in blue suit coat in business lobby

Photo by Sarah Lemke

 Human kindness and the spirit of giving were not canceled during the 2020 pandemic. In a year that forced so many nonprofits to pivot and fundraise virtually, corporations who raise money for organizations like United Way were also put in a position to regroup and figure out how they could meet their corporate giving goals and commitments. 

Physicians Mutual employees have raised money every year for United Way for the past 23 years, and 2020 was no different. “It is a solid cultural experience, an integral part of our culture of giving and volunteering back to the community,” said Bob Gunia, senior vice president, Public Affairs Group. “We have very generous employees at Physicians Mutual. They take their involvement very seriously,” he said. “It doesn’t take much when you have been committed for so long.” 

However, when you add a pandemic into the mix of activities, everything changes in how a company goes about raising funds to support their charities. Physician Mutual employees still raised $264,113. 

Kari Webber, director, Corporate Communications and Public Relations for Physicians Mutual, said that the company began their fundraising efforts for United Way in June. Their goal for employee giving was $220,000 she said. “Our 2020 dollars, just in employee giving, grew by about 3.5%, making it a record-breaking year for us. This is incredible considering our largely remote environment last year,” Webber said. It was not just employees who increased their giving. “We are also very proud of our 2020 giving by our company leaders, which grew 6% from 2019,” she said. 

One annual fundraiser that took the executive team by surprise in 2020 was “Jeans and Shorts for a Month,” in which employees are allowed to wear jeans or shorts to work by paying $20 each in July, August, and September. Gunia said that this activity usually raises $11,000 to $12,000. Although many employees worked from home and sat behind computer screens (possibly wearing yoga pants and/or slippers) the 2020 event raised more than $6,000 each month. 

In August, employees held a United Way Golf Tournament so people could be outside together and still socially distance. “We got creative with our fundraising and events with a company drive-thru car wash where the officers of Physicians Mutual washed cars,” Webber said. Another activity in August was an Eileen’s Cookies’ dough fundraiser with a drive-thru pick-up for those
who participated. 

The team at Physicians Mutual also took part in creating four designs for branded socks. Employees then voted for, and were able to purchase, socks featuring the two winning designs. “We sold the socks for $10 a pair,” Webber said. “We sold more than 325 pairs of socks, and (after expenses) raised a total of $2,750 from this effort.” 

Employees are also encouraged to pledge an amount they can give with each paycheck. The pledge campaign ran throughout the month of October. 

The giving goal was achieved because many people found while they worked from home, their expenses were fewer, so their financial position was stronger. Gunia explained, “If you could weather the storm financially, people knew they could do their part to help agencies do their part through United
Way donations.”

Gunia knows and understands both sides of the fundraising equation as he is now serving his second three-year term on the board of directors for the United Way of the Midlands. He said the need for assistance continues. 

Physicians Mutual employees are ready to help.

Visit physiciansmutual.com for more information.

This article originally appeared in the October issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

Photo by Sarah Lemke