Posts in Holidays
How to Remain Resolute in Your Resolutions

We make our New Year’s resolutions with the intention to better ourselves. If we know that our resolutions are in our best interest, why are they so hard to keep? We explore this question as a follow-up to our last blog post, Three New Year’s Resolutions Your United Way Should Keep. In our last blog post, Gary laid out three ambitious resolutions for your United Way to consider adopting in 2019:

  1. Stop using jargon: Keep words like “allocations process,” “collective impact,” and “core service investments” out of your communications with donors and community members. To more clearly communicate with your stakeholders, use fewer words and phrases that require their own sentences to explain their meaning.

  2. Help your donors succeed: Make sure that donors are able to clearly understand the impact their contributions have on social issues in your community. To help your donors to get excited about contributing to your United Way, stop reporting progress toward your campaign goal and start discussing the change their donations make possible.

  3. Understand why your United Way exists: Decide if your United Way exists to fundraise on behalf of other local organizations or to make measurable change as a community convener. To clarify your purpose, simply your messaging, and streamline your use of staff time, decide if your United Way’s top priority is raising as much money as possible or creating as much measurable change in the community as possible.

Breaking old habits is tough, and unfortunately, many United Ways have been speaking jargon, measuring progress according to campaign thermometers, and juggling competing senses of purpose for years. Tackling these bad habits in one fell swoop can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Take a look at our four tips below to see how you can help your United Way stick to its 2019 resolutions:

  1. Find your motivation: You should never change just because someone (we) told you that you should. Before you begin your journey toward change, take time to write down what you want to get out of your resolutions. Do you want your United Way to be better understood? For your donors to be more highly motivated? For your staff to have a clear sense of purpose? Know what your end goals are so that you can remain motivated when keeping your resolutions becomes challenging.

  2. Start small: Breaking deeply ingrained habits and defining your purpose takes time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make all your resolutions happen at once. Instead, break each resolution into small, achievable pieces. For example, don’t rewrite all your marketing materials from scratch; as the year progresses, update them one by one to remove jargon. As you become more comfortable talking about what your United Way does in simple terms, the easier it will be to use that language in all your communications with stakeholders.

  3. Ask your friends for help: Seek help from others who have been where you are now. The power of the United Way network is that you have the ability to learn from more than 1,200 other organizations. Utilize LISTSERVs or network at conferences to learn how other United Ways have simplified the way they talk to their community, transitioned away from campaign thermometers, and clarified their purpose.

  4. Seek professional help: While the advice of friends can be helpful, every United Way is different; sometimes it’s helpful to receive advice from an outside specialist. If you want to see the clearest path forward to achieve your United Way’s 2019 resolutions, consider reaching out to us . Whether you’re interested in clarifying your purpose or transitioning from thermometers to measurable community impact, we can help.

Change is always hard, but as donor expectations and the nonprofit landscape continue to evolve, change is essential for United Ways that want to remain relevant, sustainable, and impactful players in their communities. As we move in to 2019, take the time to assess how your United Way needs to change in order to put itself in a stronger position for 2020. Whether your United Way adopts our suggested resolutions or creates its own, make 2019 a year of intentional, strategic change.

Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary

At Perspectives, we are proud to be celebrating our 30th anniversary!

Founded on July 1, 1987, we worked with our first United Way, Heart of West Michigan United Way, in 1989. Since that time, we have enjoyed providing planning, research, training, and guidance to United Ways across the country. We are passionate about working with United Ways and believe in the good work you are doing. We know every United Way has the potential to make a significant impact in their community, which is why we focus on maximizing your impact, resources, and communication.

In honor of our 30th anniversary, we would like to offer YOU (our blog readers!) a special 30% discount on our "Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today" webinar, which received outstanding ratings when we presented it at the 2017 Great Rivers Conference.

During our "Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today" webinar, we will share with you the leading-edge strategies your board and staff must implement soon to ensure your United Way’s success in 2020. We will use real examples from United Ways of all sizes to show you how best to take on critical challenges and opportunities, such as: amplifying your United Way’s impact within your community, obtaining sustainable sources of revenue for your United Way, and engaging donors, volunteers, and community members in the work your United Way is doing.

We invite your United Way to join us for a live viewing of this 90-minute webinar on August 2nd or October 12th at 2 p.m. EDT. If you are unable to attend on either of these dates, we can either send you a recording of the webinar or invite you to a future live viewing of the webinar. To register, for more information, and to see what Great Rivers attendees said about this webinar, visit www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars

Once we receive your webinar registration, we will send you a link to pay for the webinar online where you can enter the promo code PCG30 to save 30% during checkout. This promo code is good through July 31, 2017.

Don’t miss this opportunity – register for our "Positioning Your United Way for 2020: What You Must Plan & Start Doing Today" webinar at www.perspectives4uw.com/webinars