How The United Way Is Adapting To Today’s Donor

At Change.org, we recognize not only the power of an individual’s voice, but also the momentum that can come from people-powered movements when individuals unite together for a common good. And further, it often requires commitment from institutions, corporations and socially responsible enterprises to make deep, widespread and systemic change happen.

This is one of the reasons why we were thrilled to be invited to present a learning session at the United Way’s 2015 Fundraising for Impact summit in New Orleans.

The United Way’s unique multi-national infrastructure brings all the players to the table in a large scale format designed to connect people and communities in need with local service providers.

One of the original prototypes for the Peer-to-Peer fundraising model, United Way has a rich history in workplace-giving. But with current shifts in employment trends, where staff often only stay with their employer for 3-5 years, rather than throughout a full 20+ year career, the United Way must adapt. And they are. They have chosen to face this pivotal moment head-on by assessing their strategy for individual giving and engagement.

They are learning to embrace the new digital and mobile environment(s) in which their donors, volunteers, advocates live - and meet them where they are. The Ah-Ha Moment: Realizing that a workplace donor also exists when she/he leaves the office for the day. This means an amplified focus on individual donor, volunteer and advocate engagement through targeted email, social media, SMS, and in-person communication.

In a session I led called Innovation in Individual Engagement, we highlighted the Salt Lake affiliate’s strategy to reach thousands of new advocates through a Sponsored Campaign on Change.org. Through their campaign’s multi-channel approach, they activated thousands of brand new supporters and their existing base on a local legislative issue to create change in their own community - a victory for the entire Salt Lake community, particularly children and their families.

It was an honor to attend the summit and meet hundreds of super-smart leaders in the field. We look forward to witnessing the United Way forge new fundraising trails through their individual giving and engagement strategy, their long-standing partnerships and new opportunities that pop up along the way.

Amanda Luther is a Senior Client Manager at Change.org.

 

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