What Young People Know About United Way


I am 21 years old and everything that I have learned about United Way is solely through working at Perspectives.

My only exposure to United Way prior to working at Perspectives was through seeing billboards and thermometers on and around campus. While the billboards did not say what United Way stood for or did in the community, I did know their tagline was “Live United.” But, I wondered, what does “Live United” mean? What is the purpose of United Way? What do they do? Who are they?

I also noticed the thermometers going up every few weeks or so, but did not know what that meant, besides the fact that the amount of money had increased. But, what was the money going toward?

United Way should have more than just the tagline “Live United,” with some people in “Live United” t-shirts, on their billboards. While the billboards are simple, and simple is good, there needs to be more. I suggest having some variation. I see variation of the people on the billboards, but I want to know what United Way does other than “Live United.” I want to see information on who United Way is helping and what issues United Way is focusing on in the community. I also suggest advertising the help line on the billboards, as those in need will be more likely to see the number up on a billboard versus seeing it on a Web site. Let people my age know who United Way is and what United Way does in the community.

Here is an example of a United Way that has the right idea:

United Way of St. Lucie County in Florida

After reading this billboard, I knew right away that United Way helps people. That alone, might entice me to go out to their Web site and get some more information on how I can help, too.

The campaign on our campus is not geared toward students. We don’t know what United Way is or what it means to us as members of the community. We don’t know where to donate to or even how to donate. So, what is the best way to reach us? Keep it short and to the point, and tell us how United Way helps in the community. We want to know statistics about how many people you are helping and stories about who you are helping. We also want to know how we can donate or volunteer – right now. If you tell us we have to go to a Web site or give us a complicated process for donating or volunteering that isn’t immediate, we probably won’t do it. We are busy with school and activities, and like immediacy. Get us connected to United Way by connecting with us in ways that are familiar to us (texting, Twitter, Facebook, or visiting us on campus). Give us quick and simple ways to donate and volunteer, and share with us the importance of Living United in our community.