Quote of the Month: May 2018

Our May Quote of the Month comes from OnTrack Greenville, United Way of Greenville County and partners:

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“Students are the priority – Collaboration is the strategy – Change is the reality” – OnTrack Greenville (United Way of Greenville County and partners)

At the Southeast Regional Conference, I attended a session led by Sabrina Miller, from the United Way of Greenville County. Sabrina was wearing a t-shirt with this quote, which relates to their OnTrack Greenville efforts. OnTrack Greenville is a place-based initiative focusing on middle school grades in the public schools. This short quote answers all your questions about OnTrack Greenville and United Way of Greenville County. Who are they helping? Students. How are they helping? Collaboration. What are the results? Change. If you are looking for more information, or more detail, they can provide it. There is no question that United Way of Greenville County is attracting interest with this quote, and interest is the first step to developing a meaningful relationship with your donors and potential donors. If you have a quote you would like to share for our Quote of the Month, please let me know at gary@perspectives4uw.com.

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2018 Great Rivers Conference

We invite you to join us at the upcoming 2018 Great Rivers Conference, a regional United Way conference being held from March 5th-8th in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gary and I will be presenting two sessions at this conference:


CEO Workshop: Leading Your United Way to a Successful Future   

On March 6th, we will be presenting a special session exclusively for United Way CEOs, Executive Directors, and Presidents. This session will show you how to lead your United Way to a successful future by transforming to an issue focus.

As the issue-focused experts, we will show you the power of an issue focus to simplify your United Way's message, diversify your resources, and maximize your impact. We will take an in-depth look at a variety of progressive issue-focused United Ways of all sizes, as we share stories of their successes and challenges. You will learn about the four essential steps for becoming a successful issue-focused United Way and the importance of including all of your stakeholders in the process. This session will provide you with a deeper understanding of what it means to be issue-focused and the knowledge you need to lead your United Way to a successful future.

Strengthen Your Financial Position by Effectively Diversifying Your Resources               

On March 7th, we will be presenting a session about diversifying your resources. We know workplace campaigns have been the bedrock of United Way fundraising for decades, but future financial stability will depend on effectively diversifying resources beyond workplace campaigns.

In this session, we will explore several proven methods for diversifying resources that will allow your United Way to strengthen your financial position in the future. We will begin by discussing a variety of possibilities for diversifying resources and evaluating the requirements and potential for each possibility. You will learn how to implement these possibilities to diversify your resources, illustrated by examples from progressive United Ways. Strengthen your United Way's financial position by learning how to effectively diversify your resources at this session.

For more information and to register for the 2018 Great Rivers Conference, visit https://unitedwaywi.site-ym.com/page/GRC2018. We hope to see you at one or both of our sessions in March!

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Kicking Out Hunger

Does your United Way hold a special event? If so, is your United Way promoting a specific issue tied to this event?

Many United Ways hold special events, but they are solely focused on fundraising. However, it’s important to remember that donors want to know how they are making an impact – whether they are contributing to your United Way through a workplace campaign, via text-to-give, or at an event. Therefore, it is essential to tie a specific issue to all of your events and explain how people will help to make an impact on the issue by attending your events.

United Way of Palm Beach County (West Palm Beach, FL) has tied an issue to their corporate kickball tournament, inviting people to "Kick Out Hunger." Fans, players, and teams are being encouraged to bring food items to the event to help kick out hunger, and donations will support their Holiday Hunger Drive. This is a great example of connecting a specific issue to a special event.


Whether you choose to focus on hunger, poverty, or school readiness, remember to not only communicate the issue, but the impact of attending your event, as well. For example, we love how United Way of Tri-County (Framingham, MA) simply communicated the impact of attending their "Flashback to End Hunger" event on Twitter by saying one $25 ticket to their event gets five bags of groceries for someone in need.

Simplify & Diversify With an Issue Focus

As workplace campaigns continue to remain flat or decline across the country, United Ways are looking for new ways to diversify their resources. Holding special events tied to a specific issue is just one way your United Way can raise additional resources outside of campaign.

Adopting an issue focus will make your United Way’s marketing message much simpler, but more importantly, it will open the door to additional resources outside of campaign. With an issue focus, our United Way clients have been amazed at the additional funds they have received that they didn’t even know existed before adopting an issue focus – from foundation grants to large gifts from individual donors. For example, Julie Capaldi, President at United Way of Pickens County, explained "We are a little United Way, and focusing on the issue of early childhood education and summer learning loss has resulted in raising more money from grants and campaigns, attracting new donors, and reduced designations."

You can learn more about the benefits of an issue focus and find out why United Ways like United Way of Pickens County are transforming to an issue focus at www.perspectives4uw.com/issue-focus/#Benefits If you are interested in learning more about an issue focus and/or would like to share information about an issue focus with your board and staff, contact me at kasey@perspectives4uw.com for more information and a complimentary handout.


P.S. Our thoughts and prayers are with United Way of Palm Beach County and all of our United Way friends in the South who have been affected by the recent hurricanes. We also want to thank all of you who are helping out during this difficult time.

Make an Impact in Honor of Your Mom This Mother’s Day

Is your United Way offering opportunities for people to give outside of campaign? Are you giving your donors and community members the opportunity to make an impact on a specific issue?

United Way of Pickens County (Easley, SC) encouraged people in their community to give the gift of reading this Mother’s Day with their Women United Camp iRock Honor Card Program. By making a $25 donation to Camp iRock, you could send a Mother’s Day card to your mom, letting her know you made a gift in her honor.

In addition to the Mother’s Day card explaining that you gave the gift of reading to a child in honor of your mom, it also explained Camp iRock, which is United Way of Pickens County’s summer program for struggling readers in rising 1st through 4th grades that helps students improve their reading skills over the summer. Each Mother’s Day card donation went toward funding a child to attend Camp iRock.

United Way of Pickens County promoted this opportunity to give and make an impact in honor of your mom on their website and social media.


This is a great example of an opportunity for people to give outside of campaign and I love how United Way of Pickens County tied this opportunity to Mother’s Day. It also communicates the impact of donors’ contributions in a simple and powerful way – for only $25, both you and your mom will know you helped a child learn to read. Note that United Way of Pickens County highlighted one of their own programs rather than a partner agency’s program. In order to encourage donors and community members to give to your United Way, it is essential to communicate how your United Way is making a difference in the community, and how their donations will make an impact by giving to your United Way.

United Ways who have transformed to an issue focus find it easier to communicate their message, engage their donors and community members, diversify their resources, and maximize their impact. At Perspectives, we are the creators of the Issue-Focused Model and have helped successfully guide United Ways of all sizes to an issue focus. Click here for more information about an issue focus, or contact me for information about how we can guide your United Way in the transformation to an issue focus.

Happy Mother’s Day!


P.S. Check out my blog post from May 2016 to see what United Way of the Bay Area did last Mother’s Day.

Virtual Lemonade Stand

Are you providing opportunities for people to support your United Way outside of campaign? Have you tried raising money for your United Way online?

If you’re thinking to yourself, "We’ve tried raising money for our United Way online and it hasn’t been successful," take a look at what United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area (Grand Forks, ND) did this year.

United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area held a "Virtual Lemonade Stand" for their Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program. They promoted this virtual fundraiser in their e-newsletter and on social media.

United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area tied this virtual fundraiser to Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2nd) and encouraged their donors and community to help them provide a year of free books to 60 children by March 2nd. They also communicated results of the program, saying "Locally, 87% of parents who had a child enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library said their child graduated from the program better prepared for kindergarten," and "Locally, over the past five years, 106,618 books have been distributed and 1,705 children have graduated from the program." Most importantly, they communicated the impact of a donor’s contribution, saying that a $30 donation will provide a year of books to a local child.

United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area ended up exceeding their goal of providing a year of free books to 60 children and thanked their donors for their support on their website and social media.


The key to holding a successful fundraiser is to communicate about a specific issue and the impact of a donor’s contribution, just as United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area did with their fundraiser. Many United Ways do not succeed in holding a virtual fundraiser when they communicate about multiple categories, like education, income, and health, and only share a monetary goal. Successful virtual fundraisers are based on communicating a clear message about a single issue and sharing the specific impact of a donor’s contribution.

It is important to provide opportunities for people to give to your United Way outside of campaign, especially for those people who aren’t exposed to a workplace campaign. Also, you will find that your current donors will support your United Way through additional giving opportunities as well as continue giving to your United Way through the workplace campaign.

If your United Way is having difficulty communicating a simple and specific message, you may want to consider an issue focus. United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area is issue-focused, and has been able to simplify their message and raise additional resources outside of campaign because of their issue focus. To learn more about an issue focus, visit: www.perspectives4uw.com/issue-focus