What is Your United Way’s Purpose?

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As we enter into a new year, many people have made resolutions to improve in various aspects of their life, from choosing to eat healthier or going to the gym more often, to traveling more frequently or spending more time with family and friends.

At your United Way, you have probably reviewed how you did the previous year and set a goal to raise more money this year. However, as workplace giving decreases and campaigns continue to decline, many United Ways across the country have recognized that something needs to change in order to succeed.

The essential question you must be able to answer is "What is your United Way’s purpose?" However, just like New Year’s resolutions, it can be challenging to have the discipline to answer this question.

The good news is that we are here to guide you. During our Introductory Board Retreat, we will facilitate a conversation with your board and staff about your United Way’s reason for existence, and whether your United Way exists to raise money or make an impact. If you feel passionately that your role is to serve as a fundraiser in your community, then it’s important to have a conversation about what you are currently doing, whether or not it’s working, and to discuss ideas for how to improve and be the best fundraiser you can be in your community. However, if you decide that making an impact in your community is your United Way’s purpose and you truly want to maximize your impact, then you may want to consider looking at becoming issue-focused.

During our retreat, we will explain what it means to become issue-focused and share the benefits of being issue-focused. Your board and staff will leave the retreat with an understanding of how to maximize your impact with an issue focus, and with enough information to determine if an issue focus is the right direction for your United Way.

Don’t wait to have this important conversation – make the commitment to get this year off to a great start by scheduling a retreat to have a conversation with your board and staff about your United Way’s reason for existence.

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P.S. We are here to help you succeed! As you plan for your United Way’s success in 2018, we invite you and your staff to attend our free, 90-minute webinar, "Trends 2018: The Top 5 Trends That Will Change Your United Way."

Quote of the Month: December 2017

Our December Quote of the Month comes from the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela:

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“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela

When you think about what your United Way will accomplish next year, do you think about the stark realities of campaign, or do you think about how many people your United Way will help become self-sufficient or enter kindergarten ready to learn? United Ways have the power to change their communities like no other nonprofit organization, but only when they are focused on the hopefulness of changing lives. With 2018 right around the corner, think about what your United Way could accomplish next year if you measured how many lives were changed, and not how much money was raised. Every choice an issue-focused United Way makes changes people’s lives. We hope that your United Way experiences the hopefulness that comes from changing lives in 2018!

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

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Quote of the Month: November 2017

Our November Quote of the Month comes from American poet Bill Copeland:

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The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

More and more United Ways are telling me they have stopped publicizing a campaign goal, most commonly because the media obsesses over their goal. If your United Way no longer has a campaign goal, then what is your goal? A fundraising-focused United Way will always have a goal of raising money, whether they publicly share that goal or not. The alternative is having a goal to change an issue in your community, such as reducing poverty or increasing the graduation rate. United Ways that focus on changing their communities are issue-focused. We can help you set the right goal for your United Way with our Introduction to an Issue Focus Board Retreat.

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


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