Doing It Right! Mile High United Way (Denver, CO)

Once again, it is workplace campaign season for United Ways. For many United Ways, most of the communication and marketing with donors and potential donors occurs during campaign season, which makes it essential that workplace campaigns communicate your message effectively. The campaign brochure is perhaps the most important communication piece of the year, as it must make the case why donors should continue supporting United Way, and why potential donors should start supporting United Way. One of the most effective campaign brochures comes from Mile High United Way in Denver, CO.

What are they doing right?

First, the campaign brochure covers all three things a donor needs to know – what are the issues your United Way addresses, what actions is your United Way taking to address the issues, and what results is your United Way achieving. The campaign brochure clearly lists the three areas Mile High United Way works in, and talks about how they address the issue for each area. For example, under school readiness, it explains the issue of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade and the actions Mile High United Way took, including providing over 5,000 books and launching the Colorado Reads early literacy initiative. The results included over 450 early childhood classrooms receiving financial support. Similar descriptions of the issue, action, and results are listed for youth success, and adult sufficiency. More information about the importance of communicating issues, actions, and results can be found in our Webinar at

Second, statistics about the prevalence of the issues are listed at the bottom of the first page under the headline “So what’s left to do?” For the school readiness issue, the statistic is 27% of Colorado third graders are not reading at grade level and falling further behind. This statistic, along with statistics about graduation rates and poverty, make it clear to donors and potential donors that these are not small, isolated issues, but rather important issues that significantly impact their community and region. There does not need to be a lot of statistics to convince donors, and in just a couple of sentences Mile High United Way has offered enough statistics to open donors’ eyes to the issues.

Third, the campaign brochure makes it clear that it will take donations of time, as well as money, to address these issues. On the top of the second page under the headline “What can we do together this year?” a goal of 3,000 reading tutors and mentors is listed as part of the effort to address school readiness. The words “To DONATE or VOLUNTEER visit” appear more than once on the campaign brochure, reinforcing the need for financial donations, as well as volunteer hours. Giving donors an opportunity to volunteer when they already financially support United Way deepens their relationship with United Way. Allowing people to volunteer, when they may not have the resources to financially contribute, allows people to join in the United Way mission now, and increases the likelihood that they will donate financially in the future.

Fourth, there is a section of the campaign brochure dedicated to addressing donors’ concerns about trust and accountability. Perhaps the most important statement in this section reinforces that donations are invested in the local, five county metro area, something that potential donors often question about United Way.

The campaign brochure should make the case why donors should continue supporting United Way and why potential donors should start supporting United Way. By communicating the issues, actions, and results they are achieving, providing statistics about the issues, and asking people to both give and volunteer, Mile High United Way has made the case to donors and potential donors. When it comes time for you to develop a campaign brochure for your United Way, keep in mind some of the ways Mile High United Way has used to effectively communicate with their donors and potential donors. Mile High United Way, you are Doing It Right!