United Ways can lead with their strengths in mobilizing the community around early grade reading. What United Ways are known for is being able to recruit people with passion, expertise and resources to get the job done, but too often, we only think of our value-add as dollars supporting good programs. Real community change starts when we use every opportunity workforce campaigns, affinity groups, volunteerism and more to galvanize people around a core community issue.
For example, United Ways in NFL markets are leveraging that relationship. Across the country, NFL players are teaming up with United Way to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. So far, players from 20 teams have committed to recruit 1,000 volunteers a year. To learn more, please visit http://unitedway.org/team-nfl. Consider how you could replicate that call to action with your community’s basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer teams – even farm teams!
Whatever the leverage point, the point is to build relationships and begin to engage people to commit to the issues we’re addressing. That holds true whether we’re targeting donors and prospects or are seeking volunteering and advocacy commitments.
It all involves changing the way we work with people, in the workplace and beyond. This means moving “from the ATM to the relationship,” shifting from transactional interactions with individuals and institutions to a relationship-based way of doing business.