Posts in Conferences
We’re coming for you, Wisconsin!

It’s the coldest time of the year, so our Midwestern friends all know what that means – it’s time to head to snowy Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Great Rivers 2019!

We are honored and excited to announce that we are presenting two sessions on the first day of the 2019 Great Rivers Conference, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Our first session, Growing and Diversifying RUM: What You Need to Know, will be from 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19. We’ve created this session in recognition of the fact that as workplace giving continues to decline system-wide, many United Ways feel pressure to find other avenues to grow their total resources under management (RUM) through methods such as planned giving, grants, and special events. In this session, we will discuss why it is so difficult to grow RUM using these methods within the confines of a typical United Way’s business model. We will also highlight how best to leverage the relationship between RUM growth, measurable impact, investing intentionally, and simple calls to action.

Our second session, Your Marketing Challenges Require More Than Marketing, will be from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19. Through this session, we are inviting you to join us for an honest conversation about the common marketing challenges facing United Ways today that will never be solved by marketing alone. We will dissect why it is difficult for people to understand what United Ways do and investigate why it is impossible to create a simple United Way message.

If you’re not planning on attending Great Rivers, we’d encourage you to think again (and not just because we’re going to be there). Conferences offer unparalleled opportunities to network with other United Ways throughout the system. With increasing competition for donors’ attention, changing donor demographics, and evolving donor expectations, it is now more important than ever to share resources and best practices with one another. If your United Way struggled during campaign this year or had a rough go with partner agencies, consider your attendance at Great Rivers 2019 as an investment into a stronger future. It’s entirely impossible to leave a Great Rivers conference without having learned something that will help your United Way to operate more smoothly, remain relevant in the community, or grow your total resources under management.

Early bird registration for the conference ends this Friday, January 18, so you should register soon to receive the discounted rate! The conference begins Tuesday, February 19 and runs until Friday, February 22.

We look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee!


Perspectives is on the Road Again

We’re on the road again!

This time, we're headed to Erie, Pennsylvania to the United Way of Pennsylvania State Conference. For those of you also headed to Erie, we’d like to invite you to our revamped “Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today” presentation.

Our presentation will discuss common communication, resource development, and marketing/engagement challenges faced by United Ways of all sizes. Our presentation will also help you to create a call to action that can be used with all of your stakeholders, think about the long-term future of your United Way, and lay the groundwork for the most important decision that your United Way will make before 2020.

We last presented this session at the Great Rivers 2017 Conference, where the session received rave reviews from attendees.

Fantastic! Promoted change and growth!
— 2017 Great Rivers Conference Attendee
Thanks so much – I needed you last summer as we are only now finishing our strategic plan!
— 2017 Great Rivers Conference Attendee
Excellent session! Engaging and dedicated to United Ways!
— 2017 Great Rivers Conference

If you’ll be in Erie this week, we’d love for you to attend our session! And, if you won’t be in Pennsylvania but our session sounds interesting to you – you’re still in luck! While we’re sorry that we won’t get to see you, we do offer this presentation as a recorded webinar, which you can find here.

However, you view it – whether at the conference or online – we are excited to share this presentation with you!

That said, we wish safe travels to all that are headed to Erie this week. We can’t wait to teach, learn, and share alongside you all!

Thank You to the Trailblazers
scenic chairlift - Ober Gatlinburg

When the Southeast Regional Conference ended last week, Gary and I headed up the scenic chairlift on Mount Harrison. We were headed toward what we had been promised was “the greatest view in the Smokies that you can get without hiking.” 

If you look at the photo to the right, you can see that it is no short climb to top of Mount Harrison. Moreover, that photo was taken after we had already enjoyed a ten-minute cable car ride up the mountain and nearly half of our peak-bound chairlift trip.

Although Mount Harrison is 2,200 feet above Gatlinburg, our journey to the top was pretty easy. As we went up though, I thought about the first trailblazer to climb to the top of Mount Harrison.

That first trailblazer – whoever they were – had to make it to the top of the mountain through uncharted forest, river, wildlife, and other hazards. Getting to the top before the addition of cable cars, chairlifts, and maps of the mountain was no easy feat. 

And that’s the thing about blazing a trail; it isn’t easy. You might have some idea of what lies at the end of your journey, but there’s little guarantee that you’ll end up exactly where you expect. And while you might have some idea of your final destination, you don’t know what hazards you may run into while you work your way there. 

But, when you finally reach the end of your journey, you can come back down the mountain and tell others that they too can get to the top of the mountain. Then they will climb the mountain and return with their own ideas of how to improve the journey to the top. That cycle continues until the day when getting to the top of the mountain is easy, and there are cable cars, chair lifts, and mountain maps. 

Trailblazing isn’t easy, but its thanks to the trailblazers of this world that we are able to know that we can reach the peaks of mountains and that together was can improve the journey to the top for those who follow. 

That’s why it’s such an honor to be able to participate in United Way conferences. Conferences facilitate the exchange of ideas and experience, which ultimately makes everyone’s journey up whatever mountain they’re facing just a little bit easier. 

We are thankful that we had the opportunity not just to share our Issue Focus expertise at SERC 2018, but also that we had the chance to hear and learn from so many United Ways that are changing their communities in creative, new ways. We’re grateful to have spent last week hearing and sharing stories of paths forged and mountains conquered.

Of course, we are especially grateful for Anita Barker of United Way of North Carolina. SERC 2018 would not have been possible without all of her hard work in organizing such a great conference. Anita, thank you for creating a space for United Ways to trailblaze together.