Quote of the Month

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: July 2018

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This month’s quote is commonly attributed to both Agatha Christie and Mark Twain,  but its origin is likely an anonymous speaker before both Twain and Christie's times.

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started."

The world of philanthropy is changing. From shifting donor demographics to the rollout of Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud, United Ways have to work hard to keep on top of changing trends and evolving donor expectations. As United Way workplace campaigns across the country continue their slow decline, it’s obvious that something has to change. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we cannot expect the world to suddenly change for us; we must adapt to the world.

In the face of a necessary change, the next step is intimidating. Venturing into a world unknown is challenging, yet it is essential our continued evolution and existence. To stay ahead of the national pattern of decline, United Ways need to start transforming. 

We know organizational change is scary, and that’s why we provide a guiding hand to United Ways across the country. Learn how our Introduction to an Issue Focus Board Retreat can get your United Way started on the  journey to become a more relevant, sustainable, and impactful organization that is ahead of the workplace campaign decline.

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