The United Way has long been a supporter and promoter of collaboration. It’s been our job for decades to bring people and organizations together to find ways to better serve our community. With constant changes in the economy creating greater needs and an increased demand for services, we must continue to develop creative approaches that will ensure the best use of available funding—and one such approach is increased collaboration.
While one might think United Ways are chapters of a larger national organization, this isn’t the case. United Ways are independent and autonomous organizations that share one key feature—the United Way brand. Research estimates that our brand is one of the top 10 global brands, valued at $34.7 billion. Our brand is more than a name and a logo—it is a relationship. It’s who we are, what we do, how we do it and what our message is to the communities we serve.
In 2008, the Heart of Illinois United Way is collaborating with our national trade association, the United Way of America, to launch the new “Live United” campaign. It’s a campaign that is less about helping one person at a time and more about changing systems to help advance the common good for us all. It expresses the changes you’re seeing in the United Way—not just as a community fundraiser, but an organization that advocates for lasting change, prevention and opportunities.
“Live United” presents an opportunity to re-imagine the United Way brand experience. It’s an opportunity to invite more people to join us, to help them better understand what we do and to deepen our relationships. A strategic message of the “Live United” campaign is recognizing that the outcomes we create through our allocation process generate lasting benefits that ripple out to the community as a whole. There are basic things that we all need for a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, income that can support a family through retirement, and good health.
Five years ago, the Heart of Illinois United Way became part of the Regional United Way Marketing Collaborative. The annual collaborative offers United Ways from across the Midwest, and now nationally, the opportunity to significantly reduce the printing costs of campaign marketing materials such as posters, billboards and much more. This year marks the third year for the Heart of Illinois United Way to take the lead in designing the collaborative materials—working this year to integrate the message strategy of the new “Live United” campaign. Last year 79 United Ways, from 17 states, reduced their costs by ordering through our marketing collaborative.
Collaboration brings people, ideas and resources together. It saves money. It helps us serve the community better. And when it comes down to marketing and branding, it is just one more way we can “Live United.” IBI