Gary and I attended the 2016 Michigan Association of United Ways State Conference at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan from June 22nd to 24th. We had great weather at a beautiful location and fun was had by all! (How can you not have fun when you get a complimentary ride down the Crystal Coaster?)
Gary and I jointly presented a session called “Donor-Centric: Leave No Donor Behind,” which was based on our research studies and strategic planning conducted for dozens of United Ways. During this session, we explained how to make your United Way more donor-centric and how community impact can strengthen your relationship with donors. We discussed how to ensure that your impact/investment, campaign, and communication activities include information essential for meeting donor expectations. We received good feedback and had some great conversations with attendees after our session.
Gary moderated a great session called “Community Impact Meets Resource Development,” which explored how local United Ways are combining their community impact and resource development efforts. This session featured the stories and progress of United Way of Midland County, as told by Holly Miller, their Vice President of Communication, Outreach, and Impact, and United Way of Southwest Michigan, as told by Rachel Wade, their Vice President of Impact and Development. Holly and Rachel talked about how their United Ways are working to bring community impact and resource development together, and offered great advice about being intentional, open and transparent, and communicating to all stakeholders. Perhaps the best quote of the day, coming from Holly, was “Silos are for farmers” as she talked about breaking down the walls between resource development and community impact, and developing an internal culture where all staff have a role to play in community impact and resource development.
We also attended some wonderful sessions on a variety of topics at the conference, and want to thank Scott, Janine, Nancy, Beth, and the staff at Michigan Association of United Ways for all of the hard work they put into making this year’s conference so great!
We enjoyed meeting with Michigan United Ways and look forward to attending the conference again next year!