Doing It Right! United Way of Greater Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)

It’s story time! Those words bring back wonderful memories in the young and old alike. Every youngster can’t wait for story time, and parents cherish story time with their children.

A new book that you might want to add to your bookcase is Show You Care Share, written by Karissa Kleven and illustrated by Dane Gagnon. Show You Care Share is a story of caring and friendship, centering on the adventures of young Victor and his pet hedgehog Harry. While the story is captivating and the illustrations are charming, perhaps the most interesting thing of all is that it is published by United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

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United Way of Greater Milwaukee has chosen a children’s story book to tell a story. Not the story of United Way of Greater Milwaukee, but a story of sharing to encouraging and promote philanthropy in children and families. Their goal was to reach out to children and families and inspire them to give back to their community, through volunteerism and sharing.

What are they doing right?

First, United Way of Greater Milwaukee is using a communication method that is appropriate for the audience they are trying to reach. A children’s book is an ideal way for families to learn and talk about the idea of sharing and  giving back to the community.

Second, in several places in the book, there are casual, yet noticeable, references to United Way and Live United. For example, there is a page in the book where a teacher is talking to the class, and the phrase “Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United” is written across the top of the chalkboard. At  the end of the book when the family is sitting around the dinner table, the father is dressed in a Live United t-shirt. In this day and age of product placement in television, sports, and movies, these references to United Way are subtle and appropriate.

Third, inside the back cover of the book are some questions for discussion with your children and some examples of how young people can share. There are also some thoughts for adults as well, and a reference to the United Way of Greater Milwaukee Web site for more information about how to talk to youth about philanthropy.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee has gone beyond just communicating about their United Way and has tackled the larger issue of encouraging philanthropy at the youth and family level. Cultivating the idea and ideal of philanthropy is not one that United Way of Greater Milwaukee can do by themselves, but their book is a great start. If your United Way is concerned about the future of philanthropy in your community, you would be off to a great start if you considered a book like Show You Care Share.  United Way of Greater Milwaukee, you are Doing It Right!

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