Creative Fundraising Scores Big

K-Wings goalie Joel Martin gets some help during the jersey auction on Feb. 3, 2017. (Courtesy Kalamazoo Wings)

Ever wonder what happens to players’ jerseys after a game? They can transform into books for young readers, food for struggling families, diapers for newborns and much more.

A recent auction of game-used jerseys by the Kalamazoo Wings Hockey Club raised $4,264 for United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. It’s one of many creative ways by local groups to raise dollars to impact education, income, health and basic needs.

In their Feb. 3 clash against the Wheeling (West Virginia) Nailers, the K-Wings wore specially designed jerseys as part of Star Wars Night. After the game, players brought their jerseys onto the ice and the crowd bid on them. That’s 28 jerseys, with bids ranging from $125 to $525. Players autographed the jerseys and had their photos taken with the winners.

United Way also had an information booth at the game, and the auctioneer highlighted United Way’s community work. It was a great way for the team and the fans to learn about United Way and have a direct impact in the community.

Community impact is what drives United Way; financial support is the fuel in our engine. It makes possible the programs that help more kids graduate, more families become financially stable and achieve good health, and more people get the basic necessities to survive. That’s why creative fundraising is so important.

Here are just a few examples of creative fundraising:
•    The W.K. Kellogg Foundation raised $5,000 for United Way through a premier parking spot raffle, a parking auction, a talent show, Jeans Week, a bake sale and a chili cook-off.
•    Borgess Health employees raised $1,000 through a “hot and cold” set of activities—an ice cream social and a chili cook-off.
•    Duncan Aviation raised a record $20,565 with a live auction of employee-made items (an LED, Detroit Tigers themed set of cornhole boards; handmade furniture; a donated company car, etc.). Employees also held a classic car show onsite and sold hot dogs to raise money.
•    Post Consumer Brands raised $700 with a dunk tank featuring supervisors willing to take the plunge for United Way.

Are you interested in creative fundraising to support the work of United Way? We’d love to work with you! Contact our Investor Relations staff at