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Behind the Scenes of Our United Way Day of Caring

Jessica at deskFor at least the next eight days, you’ll find me tucked into my hidden office in the United Way office in downtown Charlottesville. Starting today, I’ll be working with our United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring teams to help each team select a project to complete on September 18th. As I prepare to head into the Project Selection process, I thought it may be interesting to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how my typical day plays out and understand the preparation to create a successful Day of Caring.


I arrive at the office each morning by 8:30AM with enough time to refill my water bottle, get settled into my office, and run through any emails that I’ve received overnight. Between 9:30AM and 10:00AM each morning during this process, I’ll review my list of which of the 141 teams from 60 local businesses get to pick a project that day and ensure that each of those teams has sent me an email with their top five to ten projects. Reminder emails are sent to teams that I have not heard from and I start my day with the first team slotted to pick a project.


Day of Caring Crozet 2Each team picks their project in order based on a random number generator that I use online. Our sponsor teams always go first, followed by any teams that have asked for projects in outlying counties, and then we begin the normal lottery. When a team is slotted to pick their project, I compare their preferred project list to my list of projects still available and give them the highest rated project on their list that is still available.


Once a project has been selected by a team, that team gets a quick email with a confirmation of their selection to be followed up after the project lottery with a more formal confirmation, contact information for the nonprofit and more. The project list is also updated after each selection. Once all of the teams scheduled for one day have selected a project, an email will go out to the teams that will select the next day with a request for a list of their preferred projects from the newly updated project list.


DSC 0045 for webThis process repeats each day for about eight or nine days, until each of the over 130 teams have selected their projects. It is a long process, but one that feels rewarding. At the start, we have over 230 projects unfilled, which really means that we have over 230 requests to help nonprofits and public schools reach more people in our community. To finish the project selection and see almost all of those projects matched with a volunteer groups is fulfilling and emphasizes the overwhelming generosity of businesses and volunteers in the Charlottesville area!


I thank you all for your patience as we go through the Project Selection process. It does take some time and not every team will get their first choice of project, but in the end, we’re helping to ensure that our sheltered animals have safe places to exercise, our local children have educational games painted on school blacktops and much, much more!


Posted by: Jessica Snyder

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