Doing It Right! United Way of Calgary and Area (Calgary, Alberta)

Infographics are very popular these days, as it can be quicker and easier to communicate a message with a simple and meaningful picture or graphic, as well as statistics and text. Some United Ways have used infographics to try to communicate their message – but the challenge for United Ways is figuring out what message to communicate. One United Way that is using an infographic to effectively communicate their message is United Way of Calgary and Area (Calgary, Alberta). United Way of Calgary and Area has developed a series of infographics as a part of their campaign materials. This infographic about children in Calgary is one of their three infographics:

What are they doing right?

First, the focus of the infographic is on a single issue; in this case, children facing social, emotional, physical and/or communication challenges and not graduating on time. Some United Ways try to pack every issue they address into an infographic, which is overwhelming for the reader and defeats the purpose of simplifying the message using an infographic. Instead of one overwhelming infographic, United Way of Calgary and Area took a much better approach by creating three infographics – one for each of their issues of poverty, children, and domestic violence.

Second, United Way of Calgary and Area used local statistics like 3,000 Calgary youth are not graduating on time, and 27,000 youth face barriers to achieving or maintaining well-being because of poverty, family breakdown, mental health issues or homelessness. These local statistics are important because they demonstrate to the reader that these are significant problems and challenges locally. When United Ways use national statistics on their infographics, the reader may be inclined to dismiss the information because they think the problem only exists in other places and not in their community. Locally statistics are the first choice for any infographic if you have them like United Way of Calgary and Area.

Third, the infographic not only shows the issue, but the work being done. A donor or potential donor can look at this infographic and see that their donation to United Way of Calgary and Area is supporting kids with relationship-building, developing a strong sense of self, and developing skills to become independent. Although United Way of Calgary and Area does not report the exact number of children helped, they do state that 90% of youth participating reported an increase in competency, including interpersonal, critical thinking, employability, and academic skills. Communicating results is critical to United Way donors, as donors often struggle to understand what United Way does and how their donation makes a difference.

Infographics work best when they are simple. United Way of Calgary and Area has created an infographic that invites donors to invest in the children of Calgary. Their infographic tells a simple story about the challenges facing children in Calgary, the work being done to address those challenges, and the results that have been achieved. If your United Way is considering developing an infographic, take a look at the series of infographics created by United Way of Calgary and Area for some great ideas. United Way of Calgary and Area, you are Doing It Right!