For years, as part of our Strategic Planning Process, we have challenged the boards of United Ways to agree on a clear understanding of the purpose of their United Way. This is not an easy question because there can be a variety of different reasons why a United Way exists. Every so often, one of those board members will ask us what we feel is the purpose of United Way.
This is a question that we discuss among ourselves frequently, but we have never fully answered the question until now. Over the past couple of weeks, we have taken the time to write down our beliefs regarding United Way's purpose and our role in supporting United Ways in what we call "Our Manifesto."
We love United Ways – we always have, and we always will.
But, we do not believe United Ways exist to:
• Fundraise for local nonprofit organizations
• Pass-through donors’ designations
• Group partner agencies into categories, like education, income, and health
We believe United Ways exist to:
• Impact local issues and needs
• Identify and fund programs and strategies that create meaningful change
• Convene and lead donors, volunteers, and organizations to make a difference in the community
We exist to:
• Help United Ways that want to impact their community
• Provide consulting for United Ways to successfully transition to a mission of impact
• Guide United Ways in focusing their impact, diversifying their resources, and sharpening their message
If you believe, as we believe, that your United Way exists to impact your community, we will help you succeed.