UNITED WAYS CAN'T DO IT ALL.
United Ways have limited resources. It’s a fact of nonprofit life — You can’t change the world in all the ways you and your donors wish you could.
So, how do you assure that you are impacting your community in the greatest way possible? It has to do with how you invest your limited resources.
Do you invest broadly or deeply?
The social issues United Ways address are complex and intertwined, but it's challenging to move the needle on many issues at once. Truly impacting a community requires deep investment and focused collaboration on a single issue.
This is a philosophy many United Ways are putting into practice:
[United Way will] simply focus their purpose in hopes of achieving more measurable outcomes and a greater return on investment.
“It’ll be less about the dollars raised and more about the impact made.”
- Whatcom Talk, January 11, 2018
"We are not transforming the community in a sustainable way," said [CEO Lesley] Scearce. "Why? Part of that is a lack of true collaboration and innovation as partners. We have to look beyond nonprofits."
- Times Free Press, June 24, 2018
"We have a mission and we are simply aligning our work and our grants more deliberately and intentionally toward our mission, and particularly to drive a level of assumed community impact."
- The Commercial Appeal, July 23, 2016
United Ways exist to impact their communities.
United Ways must invest in a way that creates lasting, meaningful impact.
To ensure impactfulness, United Ways need to invest deeply.
To ensure impactfulness, United Ways need to focus their investments.