Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary

At Perspectives, we are proud to be celebrating our 30th anniversary!

Founded on July 1, 1987, we worked with our first United Way, Heart of West Michigan United Way, in 1989. Since that time, we have enjoyed providing planning, research, training, and guidance to United Ways across the country. We are passionate about working with United Ways and believe in the good work you are doing. We know every United Way has the potential to make a significant impact in their community, which is why we focus on maximizing your impact, resources, and communication.

In honor of our 30th anniversary, we would like to offer YOU (our blog readers!) a special 30% discount on our "Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today" webinar, which received outstanding ratings when we presented it at the 2017 Great Rivers Conference.

During our "Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today" webinar, we will share with you the leading-edge strategies your board and staff must implement soon to ensure your United Way’s success in 2020. We will use real examples from United Ways of all sizes to show you how best to take on critical challenges and opportunities, such as: amplifying your United Way’s impact within your community, obtaining sustainable sources of revenue for your United Way, and engaging donors, volunteers, and community members in the work your United Way is doing.

We invite your United Way to join us for a live viewing of this 90-minute webinar on August 2nd or October 12th at 2 p.m. EDT. If you are unable to attend on either of these dates, we can either send you a recording of the webinar or invite you to a future live viewing of the webinar. To register, for more information, and to see what Great Rivers attendees said about this webinar, visit www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars

Once we receive your webinar registration, we will send you a link to pay for the webinar online where you can enter the promo code PCG30 to save 30% during checkout. This promo code is good through July 31, 2017.

Don’t miss this opportunity – register for our "Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today" webinar at www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars


Remaining Relevant is Hard

The world is changing faster than ever. Shifting demographics, emerging technology, and evolving best practices keep United Ways on their toes as they work to remain relevant in their communities.

Remaining relevant is, of course, critical to the survival of United Ways, and therefore critical to the ability of United Ways to continue to positively impact their communities.

But, it’s hard.

Remaining relevant is especially difficult because all the changes that keep United Ways on their toes can make it challenging for United Way staff to know how best to communicate with and engage donors, volunteers, and community members in their work.

We have been working with United Ways for 28 years, so we intimately understand the importance of each United Way cultivating a positive and persistent presence in its community. We also understand the role effective communication and engagement play in cultivating that presence. 

As the world continues to rapidly change, we want to help United Ways continue to be able to positively impact and interact with their donors, volunteers, and community members.

That is why I would like to invite you to join us for our upcoming “Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today” webinar. Join us to learn more about how progressive United Ways across the country are changing the way they offer engagement opportunities, call their communities to action, and interact with audiences on social media.

To learn more about our upcoming webinar, please visit www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars


Quote of the Month: June 2017

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Our June Quote of the Month comes from Jimmy Dean:

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

Jimmy Dean

Over the past decade or two, the winds have certainly changed direction for United Ways. With the internet came the ability for donors to understand and contribute to charities of their choice more easily than ever before. The economic recession of 2008 has resulted in fewer large employers and fewer donors. These challenging changes in the winds have made it difficult for United Ways to succeed doing what they have always done. The quote speaks of adjusting sails to reach your destination, which for United Ways means doing things differently.

At the 2017 Great Rivers Conference, we presented a session called “Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today.” The underlying theme of this session was how United Ways must be doing things differently, or adjusting their sails, to succeed in 2020. The comments from people who attended this session, and the nearly perfect ratings we received for the session, have prompted us to offer this session as a webinar. If your United Way is trying to figure out how to adjust your sails, we would encourage you to consider joining us for the webinar. You can find more information at www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars

If you have a quote you would like to share for our Quote of the Month, please let me know at kasey@perspectives4uw.com


What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate


Does your community really understand the work you do?

After more than twenty years of conducting public opinion polls and surveys for United Ways across the country, we can say that most of the time the answer is no.

When we ask community members about the words they associate with United Way, we commonly receive responses like: community, helpful, charity, and giving.

Although those words are all positive, they are unfortunately vague. This is because, in our experience, saying that United Way addresses education, income, and health isn’t enough. It is extremely uncommon for community members to be able to name any specific issues their United Way addresses or associate any specific accomplishments with their local United Way.

This is a problem not only because you are unlikely to attract new donors when the community at large does not understand what you do, but when understanding is lacking, negative opinions - based on rumors or misunderstandings - can tarnish your organization’s reputation.

Do not let your reputation and attractiveness to donors suffer at the hands of a poorly informed public. Learn how to communicate a simple call to action that will attract community members and donors alike to your cause in our upcoming webinar Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today.

Kasey and I have created this 90-minute webinar to help you tackle this and other common challenges, and we will teach you how to position your United Way for success in 2020. To learn more about the other topics our webinar will cover, to read reviews, or to register for this event, visit http://www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars/.


Quote of the Month: May 2017

Our May Quote of the Month comes from our good friend Pamela Beckford at United Way of Wells County. Pamela has used this quote for years:

If you try to be everything to everybody, you're nothing to anybody.

– Pamela Beckford, Executive Director, United Way of Wells County

There are plenty of United Ways that try to be everything to everybody. For example, “everything” is funding dozens of programs, while “everybody” is trying to fund every nonprofit organization in the community. “Everything” is also trying to address education, income, health, safety net, etc., while “everybody” is trying to appeal to every possible donor. As Pamela notes, when a United Way tries to be everything to everybody, the results are quite the opposite. Our donor research for United Ways finds that upwards of half of all United Way donors do not know what issues their United Way addresses, and over one-third of United Way donors do not know the results of their contribution. We know from our donor research that the vast majority of donors do not want United Way to be everything to everybody. It is far better for your United Way to do one thing, and be known for doing one thing, than trying to be everything to everybody.

A big thank you to Pamela for sharing her quote this month! If you have a quote you would like to share for our Quote of the Month, please let me know at: Gary@perspectives4uw.com.