Repeat, Repeat, Repeat . . .

Growing up, I was always puzzled by shampoo bottles. Back in the day, every shampoo bottle came with these instructions: “Lather, Rinse, Repeat.” I completely understood lather and rinse; it was the repeat part that stumped me. My question was simple – How many times do you “repeat?” I finally rationalized repeat as a marketing ploy by shampoo companies to get you to use much more shampoo than you would ever need.

It is once again time to usher in the New Year with an appropriate New Year’s resolution. By now, you probably have your personal resolutions figured out. But, there is no reason to stop with just a personal resolution or two; every United Way should have a New Year’s resolution, as well. Let me make this as painless as possible by suggesting a resolution for your United Way.

I know it is a little presumptuous of me to even suggest a New Year’s resolution for your United Way, when I may not have even met your United Way. Without personally meeting your United Way, it would be impossible for me to suggest that your United Way should do something like lose weight or stop smoking. Instead of suggesting that your United Way adopt a resolution to stop doing something, I am going to suggest a resolution that you continue doing something you are probably already doing.

Your resolution for 2014 should be to talk about why your United Way exists. Simple statements like “We reduce poverty” or “We increase the graduation rate” or “We are ending homelessness” clearly and concisely explain why your United Way exists. You probably already know this statement for your United Way. Here is where you will need to commit to keeping your New Year’s resolution because just like the instructions on the shampoo bottle, I want you to talk repeatedly about why your United Way exists. Not just once in your annual report, or once at your workplace campaign presentation, but repeatedly talk about why your United Way exists year-round, everywhere, all the time. This resolution really comes down to that one word – “repeat.” You must repeat why your United Way exists. Don’t assume that everyone gets why your United Way exists after hearing it the first time because they don’t. You must repeat it. Send your donors an e-mail about why your United Way exists. Write an editorial for your local newspaper about why your United Way exists. You can’t say why your United Way exists enough times. Resolve to repeat this year!

Take a moment and write the word “repeat” on a Post-It note and stick it to your monitor or on your bulletin board. You’ll know what it means every time you see it, and it will remind you to once again talk about why your United Way exists.

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From all of us at Perspectives, Happy New Year and best wishes for a great 2014!