Doing It Right! United Way of Pierce County (Tacoma, Washington)

Is your United Way connecting with the younger generation? Are you inviting young people in their 20s and 30s to get involved with your United Way? Connecting with this age group should be of particular interest to you, as these people will be your next group of potential donors.

Most United Ways offer some sort of affinity/peer group for people to get involved with their United Way. However, joining one of these affinity/peer groups usually requires a large monetary donation and a certain level of commitment. While this is a great way to connect with people and gain donations in the process, we would suggest that you connect with the younger generation a little bit differently.

Take United Way of Pierce County’s (Tacoma, Washington) Project:U as an example:

What are they doing right?

First, they are offering an opportunity for young people to get involved with their United Way, without requiring them to make a large monetary donation. Project:U is a program of United Way of Pierce County that provides young adults with an opportunity to socialize, network, and show their support for a united Pierce County. They invite young people in their 20s and 30s to join, in order to get more involved in the community and more connected with their peers. The text that can be found at the top of United Way of Pierce County’s Project:U Facebook page is “Connect. Act. Be Heard. Connecting 20 & 30-somethings to develop, support, & serve the Pierce County community.”

Second, they offer fun events that young people would want to attend. On their Project:U Facebook page, they provide information on their latest events, including their largest event of the year, called The Get Involved Gala or “The GIG.” Tickets to attend The GIG are only $30 for singles or $55 for a couple if you buy them in advance, and they explain where your money is going on The GIG’s Web site. Besides fancy clothes and cameras at the event, they tell you to expect appetizers, desserts, a wine bar and kegs of beer, raffles, a DJ, dancing, a red carpet, and an Instagram photo booth, in addition to learning more about your impact in 2013 and ways you can become involved in the community. How much fun does that sound – all while learning about how you can make a difference in the community?

Third, they also offer fun volunteer opportunities. For instance, while collecting school supplies for kids in their community, they also networked and enjoyed food and drinks, and while sorting donated food items, they also held a barbecue. What young person wouldn’t want to connect with peers and enjoy food and drinks, while giving back to the community?

United Way of Pierce County’s Project:U is a great example of a way to make a connection with the younger generation and build awareness about what you do in the community. We would suggest that you offer something similar, so that young people have the opportunity to connect with peers and have fun, while learning more about your United Way and how they can make a difference in the community, rather than asking them to join an affinity/peer group with a set amount they have to give financially. A lot of young people are willing to get involved and help out in the community, but may not be able to give a significant amount of money right now. However, these are the people you will want to connect with and inform about your United Way now, so that you are helping the community and your United Way now and into the future. United Way of Pierce County, you are Doing It Right!

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