Get ready for the United Way Blitz

Published 12:37 am Sunday, November 11, 2007

The United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou will conduct its second annual Business Blitz on Tuesday as part of the ongoing campaign. Last year’s event was a resounding success with almost $6,000 raised from small businesses on all sides of town and on both sides of the river.

Traditionally, large employers such as banks, hospitals, department stores, and corporations give employees the opportunity to contribute through payroll deduction. This is usually not feasible for small businesses, so we encourage them to participate in the Business Blitz. Letters have been sent out, but if we missed you feel free to give us a call and join in!

This one-day event on Tuesday should be creative and fun. It might even include some competition between friendly rivals, especially if small businesses start early with some internal fundraising.

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Some ideas might include the following:

– Place a “donate your change” container at check out — do you really want all those pennies and nickels in your pocket?

– Sell raffle tickets for an item or service (manicure? Oil change? Discount?)

– Donate a percentage of one day’s sales

– Thank employees for donating with a special perk (lunch out, afternoon off, jeans day)

– Sell homemade cookies to employees and customers

– Have some kind of competition for employees/customers to vote with a donation (cutest baby? friendliest employee?)

– Challenge other businesses on your street (or in the same business area) to match or exceed your donation

Volunteers will visit area businesses, in Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday, to pick up donations between the hours of 10:30 and 2 p.m. on Tuesday. (The volunteer teams are also competitive and are out to beat last year’s winning team of Jimmy Hibbs and the United Way Youth Board.)

A radio telethon will occur during the Business Blitz. This is a great opportunity to promote goodwill for local businesses, and receive a little free advertisement. Tune in to 95 Country, KISS 97.3, WTYJ 97.7, WMIS 1240 AM, the Group 105, and The River 107 to hear announcements of companies who are making pledges and donations to United Way.

Please participate. Shop locally and support your friends and neighbors who operate small businesses. If you are a business owner, please have your donations ready for the smiling faces of the United Way volunteers. If you have any questions, please call the office at 601-442-1081.

Your contributions to United Way fund twenty-one agencies. Your money stays in the Miss-Lou and works locally, bringing lasting change, right where you live. That’s what matters.

Maria Bowser is the United Way Board chairman.