Doing It Right! United Way of South Mississippi (Gulfport, MS)

Donors want and expect their United Way to provide them with information about the impact of their contribution. Providing that information can be a challenge - what do you say and how do you say it in a way that will be meaningful to donors? Some United Ways will include information about their issues and impact as a part of their annual report, which often gets lost between pages of donors’ names and financial statements. United Way of South Mississippi has developed a 2013 Donor Report, which is specifically designed to let donors know about the impact of their contribution:

This is just one of the pages of their 2013 Donor Report; other pages include statistics about the education, income, and health challenges facing South Mississippi residents and another page includes information about volunteering and people involved with United Way of South Mississippi. The last page of the 2013 Donor Report includes stories about impact: 

What are they doing right?

First, their 2013 Donor Report includes statistics, stories, and reinforces trust and accountability. The report includes statistics, such as the number of children that drop-out of school or how many people do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. These statistics make it clear to donors how significant these challenges are in South Mississippi. There are three stories about the impact of donors’ contributions on the last page. These stories make the issues personal, by sharing how people have benefited from the donor’s contribution. Finally, trust and accountability is reinforced by a listing of staff and volunteers, so that donors can see who is personally responsible and accountable for their contribution. Donors need to see all three things: statistics about the issues, stories about the results, and who is responsible and accountable for their contribution.

Second, the 2013 Donor Report provides donors with information about volunteering and shows donors how they can volunteer. Many donors are unaware of opportunities to volunteer and United Way of South Mississippi has made it a priority to increase the number of volunteers by letting donors know how to volunteer. Their 30 Ways In 30 Days Challenge is a great way to get people to volunteer and the donor report points people to their Web site for a complete list of volunteer opportunities.

Third, the 2013 Donor Report is long enough to provide the information donors want, but not so long as to overwhelm donors. The report is visually interesting with an infographic of information and statistics, followed by a page of stories. Donors are referred to additional information on the Web site, keeping the report short and to the point.

A donor report like the 2013 Donor Report from United Way of South Mississippi is a great way to communicate with donors about the impact of their contribution. A lot of information is provided in this report in a variety of ways sure to appeal to all donors. The next time your United Way is considering producing some type of report for donors, consider what United Way of South Mississippi has done and make a report that is meaningful and effective for donors. United Way of South Mississippi, you are Doing It Right!

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