During my undergraduate studies, one of the first things a professor said to our Intro to Political Science class was, “if you change the rules, you change the outcome”. Now, this lesson doesn’t seem as mind-blowing now as it did to a young freshman student. In fact, it’s pretty logical if you think about it. But I’m still amazed by how broadly this lesson can be applied, even now in my career as a Community Investment Advisor with United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL).
For many years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has been a strong corporate partner of UWSL. In addition to generous in-kind contributions, the LDS Church hosts an impressive employee giving campaign, and though previous campaigns have been successful, this year, campaign committee members shared some information that really opened our eyes. He informed the committee that, in year’s past, the campaign had simply not reached him – he knew nearly nothing about the LDS Church’s partnership with UWSL, or about the work that UWSL was doing in our communities.
In that moment, the LDS Church’s campaign committee realized that some of the “rules” needed to change.
In the past, given the large number of employees, the success of the LDS Church’s campaign was largely placed on the shoulders of department representatives who were responsible for disseminating UWLS information to their colleagues, over the course of a 3-month campaign. One of the first changes made to this year’s campaign was shortening the campaign timeline to only 4 weeks. The Church recognized that a shorter giving period would require strategic outreach to make up for time lost. This is where Patrick Risk, a committee member, really stepped up.
I took some time to chat with Patrick, and he said, “Having served as a department representative last year in my own department, I had to develop a plan on my own accord. Although the campaign ran for three months in 2015, I determined to shorten it for my department to a 4 week focus. I developed and executed a communication/marketing plan which focused on the three focus areas of United Way – education, healthcare, and income stability. This focused effort resulted in double the participation and contribution rate of our department from the previous year.”
Learning from his success as a department representative in 2015 and now serving on the 2016 campaign committee as the coordinator for department representatives, Patrick said, “I really wanted to help make their job simpler and help equalize the opportunity for each department to succeed. I also thought that a unified approach would be more powerful in bringing us together collectively as an organization.” And so Patrick worked to create a “Campaign Toolkit” for department representatives to draw from as they shared campaign information with their colleagues.
These “Toolkits” were step-by-step guides for department reps and Managing Directors to follow over the course of the 4-week campaign. Ultimately, they helped make UWSL information and stories like Debora’s story and Adriana’s story more accessible to Church employees, which made all the difference in creating energy and enthusiasm!
And that energy and enthusiasm shows! Patrick informed me that, “We are on track to finish our 2016 campaign 10 percent above our 2015 results… Twenty of our departments had better results than the previous year; 14 had better results than the previous two years; seven had better results than the previous five years recorded.”
We’re so happy with the success The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has experienced with their workplace giving campaign! But not just because of the funds that were raised.
Increased participation often translates to better-informed employees. When individuals understand UWSL’s work, they want to get involved!
United Way of Salt Lake is in the game to change the odds. When you change the rules, you change the outcome.
Can you create change to make a bigger and better
difference in our community today?