In this insightful Q&A session, we delve into the experiences and motivations of Tim Blotske, a dedicated supporter and volunteer for Sioux Empire United Way (SEUW) for nearly two decades. Tim shares his journey from a newcomer to the SEUW family, shedding light on the transformative impact the organization has had on both him and the community.
From his early days of participating in the annual giving campaign to assuming the role of 2024 Campaign Chair, Tim provides a unique perspective on the evolution of his involvement and the profound effect SEUW's funded programs have on the Sioux Empire.
Join us as we uncover Tim's passion for community service, the unexpected request to lead the 2024 campaign, and his vision for raising awareness about SEUW's crucial initiatives in the coming years.
Q&A with Tim Blotske
What was your original connection to Sioux Empire United Way & why did you decide to get involved?
I was introduced to the United Way when I started working for my current employer many years ago. The SEUW was an extremely important part of our annual giving campaign and this was my first introduction to giving. At the time I gave not knowing the full impact of the SEUW, but did so because it felt important.
How have your beginning years shaped your appreciation and involvement with Sioux Empire United Way and their funded programs?
It wasn’t long after I started with my employer that I got involved in the SEUW as a volunteer campaigner. This gave me a view into how we raise the dollars but I was still somewhat unclear as to how those dollars were used. It wasn’t until a few years later I was asked to join a community impact team. Once I started meeting with and reviewing partner agencies it was then that I started to appreciate the work we do. To see the challenges in our community on the front line and how we positively impact our community has forever shaped how I feel both as a member of our community and a volunteer for those in need.
As a Sioux Empire United Way Supporter and volunteer for nearly 20 years, tell us about the moment you were asked to chair the 2024 Sioux Empire United Way Campaign.
The ask was a complete surprise. I was asked to meet with the SEUW staff to discuss strategies for the following year’s campaign. Since I had been leading a campaign team for several years it made sense and I expected this was going to be the topic of discussion. When I arrived at the meeting I was surprised to see that the Board Chair was also attending. Shortly after I arrived they made the ask for me to run the 2024 campaign. To say I was honored is a understatement. The ask was unexpected and very special to me. To follow in the footsteps of so many great community leaders that have led campaigns was something that I was very proud and excited to do.
The annual campaign sets a monetary goal, as the Chair, what goals do you have for yourself, the team of volunteers, and the community?
Obviously my goal is to ensure that we hit our monetary goal, however personally I want to make sure we’re doing what we can to spread the word on how important the SEUW is to the Sioux Empire. Oftentimes I feel we get fixated on hitting the monetary goal and we can lose sight of what the campaign is truly about, serving those in our community. We’ve asked our volunteers to help spread this word while connecting with businesses and individuals and they’ve been doing an outstanding job. We hold a campaign for our partner agencies, we serve them, and by sharing that message I hope we extend our reach in giving.
What are you looking forward to as the SEUW Campaign Chair for 2024?
As mentioned above I want to make the community more aware of the work our partner agencies do. As the community grows the needs within our community grow. There may be people new to the Sioux Empire that are not aware of the work they do, or there simply may be people who have never heard the message. I believe that if we can make the community aware of our needs then a monetary goal is easy to meet.
We hear many times that people and community leaders give to United Way because you never know when you may need the resources of their funded agencies. Do you have a personal tie to the agencies we hope to support in 2024?
Like so many in our community my children benefited from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. They loved to receive and read their books each month when they came. I hear story after story on the importance this program serves in our community.
As a long-term volunteer for SEUW, what advice do you have for individuals interested in volunteering and why do you continue volunteering with us?
If you’ve ever wondered about volunteering I would encourage you to simply get involved. There are so many different opportunities to do so. A good start is to get involved with the Volunteer United team. This is the perfect fit for anyone looking to actively serve our partner agencies. From there, you can join the VU steering committee or get more involved in other SEUW volunteer capacities.
Nearly 10 years ago you were awarded the 2013 United Way Volunteer of the Year award for your work coordinating the Heart Club, how do you think that experience will play into your strategy as Campaign Chair?
I honestly can't take credit for the Volunteer of the Year award that year. That was a community award. They stepped up and gave from their hearts. All I did was make them aware of the opportunity, which is similar to the goal I’ve set this year. To make the community aware of what their gifts do, by serving our partner agencies. The method is the same, make people aware. So, I’m trying to use the same roadmap I used as the Heart Club Coordinate in the Campaign Chair role.
You mentioned part of your campaign strategy is to reach individuals that aren’t involved in SEUW’s traditional giving campaign, what does that look like for you and the 2024 volunteers?
We need to find different ways to get the message out to our community. As with every year, business and employee campaigns are going to be our bread and butter to get our message out to the community. However as the landscape changes in how people want to connect, whether it's through social media or other means, we need to take advantage of that. I think the SEUW team has done a fantastic job at this in the first couple months of the campaign. Our message is being seen more and more outside of our normal channels, and I believe that is going to help not only this year but in subsequent years/campaigns.
What final words do you have for our readers?
The Sioux Empire is a very special place we all call home, and it's our job to take care of it. As we grow our needs grow. We have a fantastic group of partner agencies that are understanding the needs within our community impacting people in crisis, children and vulnerable adults. As SEUW volunteers it's our job to do what we can to help identify the needs of our partner agencies and find the means to fund those needs. We can't do this without all of the great community volunteers and donors. If you currently give, THANK YOU. If you’ve ever considered giving but haven’t, reach out to myself or someone from the SEUW office. I’d love to sit down and discuss. Finally, spread the word. The more we can extend our message the better we’ll be, the better our partner agencies will be, and the better our community will be.