Issue Focus

Quote of the Month: October 2018

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After speaking to United Ways at conferences for many years, people have attributed several quotes to me. This month’s quote comes from yours truly:

“Helping people is easy. Change is hard.” – Gary Goscenski, Issue-Focused Consultant, Perspectives

When a United Way provides funding for a program it helps people. For example, 120 local families received food from a local food pantry because United Way provided funding to the food pantry. It is relatively easy for United Way to say they helped these families by making an investment in their program.

It is hard to change things. The challenge of change comes when you ask the question: “How do we change things so that these 120 families will not need food from the local food pantry next month?”

Many United Ways measure success by how many people received help. Very few United Ways measure success by how many people no longer need help.

What is success for your United Way – helping or changing?

Adopting an issue focus is all about achieving change – fewer people in poverty, more students graduate from high school, fewer people are homeless, etc. Change is hard, but United Ways that have adopted an issue focus make change in their communities every day. Check out the Issue Focus Model on our website and see how your United Way can make change. One of the most powerful aspects of the Issue Focus Model is that it not only changes your community, but it makes your United Way relevant, sustainable, and impactful.

If you have a quote you would like to share for our Quote of the Month, please let me know at gary@perspectives4uw.com

Blog Survey Update

On another note: We want to thank everyone who took the time to complete our blog survey. We sincerely appreciate your comments and suggestions, and you will see us incorporating your comments and suggestions into future blog posts.

Congratulations to Jimmy Hill, President and CEO, River Region United Way (Montgomery, AL), who completed our blog survey and was randomly selected to receive a free webinar from Perspectives for his United Way!

Quote of the Month: September 2018

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Our September Quote of the Month comes from Pat Berger, President/CEO of United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area, Grand Forks, North Dakota:

“An issue focus has changed everything, from how we speak about our work to how we measure our success.” – Pat Berger, President/CEO, United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area

In 2015, United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area became an issue-focused United Way and chose poverty as their issue. Pat says the community is now talking about United Way and their work to help people move up and out of poverty: “Our donors now understand and praise our activities.” One of the biggest changes, according to Pat, is that they now only award grants for programs that address poverty in their community. Pat says: “I strongly believe adopting an issue focus is the way to go. United Ways cannot be all things to everyone.” We have information about the issue focus model and the benefits and challenges of an issue focus on our website. If you have a quote you would like to share for our Quote of the Month, please let me know at gary@perspectives4uw.com

Quote of the Month: August 2018

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Our August Quote of the Month comes from Ken Toll, President/CEO of United Way of Jackson County, Jackson, Michigan:

“It is more work to try to do everything and not know where you are going” – Ken Toll, President/CEO, United Way of Jackson County

Three-years ago United Way of Jackson County adopted an issue focus around the issue of financial stability and adopted a bold goal of “Help 5,000 Jackson County residents develop a pathway to financial success by 2025.”  I recently asked Ken if it was hard work to address an issue like financial stability, and he quickly responded that it was harder to do everything for everyone.  United Way of Jackson County is no longer trying to do everything, because they now have a clear direction to impact financial stability and achieve their bold goal. It is important to know where your United Way is going, because once you have a clear direction, the work becomes easier, more impactful, and more rewarding. 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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