Doing It Right! United Way of Rock River Valley (Rockford, Illinois)

It has always been a challenge for United Ways to communicate the impact of a donor’s contribution. Donors want to know how their contribution improved the community, and many times all United Ways can say is that their contribution was distributed to a variety of community agencies. A great example of how you can communicate the impact of a donor’s contribution comes from United Way of Rock River Valley (Rockford, Illinois). They have developed a one-page summary of their Page Turner Reading Program, which clearly and concisely shows donors how their contribution makes a difference.


On the front of the page is a big picture with children holding their books, along with the sentence, “Help over 3,500 preschool children in the Rock River Valley gain the necessary literacy skills to enter school ready to succeed.” Under the picture is a list of all of the preschools and facilities where the Page Turner Reading Program takes place. On the back of the page is information about early education and program outcomes, which explain the importance of the Page Turner Reading Program.

What are they doing right?

First, the one-page summary is simple and concise. The picture catches the eye, and there are not a lot of words to read through. A donor could quickly and easily read this information, without having to invest a lot of time or effort. There is information about the issue of early education and children being properly prepared to enter kindergarten, along with information about how children will receive books and participate in child-parent literacy activities. Finally, there are some measurements of outcomes that have improved because of the Page Turner Reading Program.

Second, the listing of all the locations and preschools under the picture makes this issue local. Anyone who lives in the area will recognize that this program is taking place at a preschool or facility right in their neighborhood. Donors who do not know that children need help with early education in their neighborhood will be able to tell from a quick scan of the locations that this program is changing lives right in the donor’s backyard.

Third, there are measureable results from the program. Not every program has measureable results, however, the Page Turner Reading Program has results that can be easily shared and understood by donors. The program outcomes listed on the back of the page are simple enough that anyone can see how the Page Turner Reading Program is making things better in the Rock River Valley.

Communicating the impact of a donor’s contribution is not always easy, but United Way of Rock River Valley has found a simple and effective way to get the message out. The next time your United Way is looking for a way to communicate impact, you may want to consider a simple, one-page summary like this one from United Way of Rock River Valley. Include basic information about your issue, the actions you are taking to address the issue, and your results; and donors will understand how their contribution has made a difference. United Way of Rock River Valley, you are Doing It Right!

Gary First name Sig GREEN.png