TOGETHER, WE WILL WIN
In May of 2017, I attended a United Way Community Leaders Conference with several co-workers, my boss, and a member of our Board. It was a great experience. It's a great way to network and learn more about the United Way system worldwide! My boss always says he wants us to have at least one take away when we go to events like these.
HERE'S MY TAKEAWAY...
During the conference, they highlighted the United We Fight Video. As the Director of Marketing and Communications and with a background in news, I spent 10 years as a TV reporter, I was excited about this. At first, when I saw the United Way Worldwide version of the video, I won't lie...I was taken back. It was in-your-face, raw, REAL...maybe too real?
UNITED WAY WORLDWIDE WE FIGHT IMAGES
Then they asked us to think about using it in our own community. Like I said, I spent 10 years in news...7 of that in Youngstown, where our United Way is based. I saw all of that in-your-face, raw, real stuff. From murder scenes to drug busts, I covered it. So my first thought is that we did not need to be reminded that it's like that out there on the streets, in our communities. But, I spent 7 years seeing it first hand as a reporter. I think I was jaded. I thought everyone knew it was bad out there. I was wrong.
We showed the United Way Worldwide version as well as the United Way of Greater Milwaukee's version to some of our key stakeholders; our staff, our board, my Marketing Committee made up of local marketing professionals, and parents and families of the students we serve through our Success After 6 program.
We got some negative feedback. They didn't like the message. But for the most part it was positive, people liked it. They liked that it was different. That it was REAL. We had the parents write down their reactions. Here are just a few:
SUCCESS AFTER 6 PARENT AND FAMILY REACTION
"Very Raw...I'm very mixed as it seems like a message people may need to hear and/ or see, but it
can also be looked at as an exploitation of one's surroundings. It does seem to have a message
that United Way is there to help."
"Very personable...makes me feel proud to have my daughter a part of the program. The United
Way is not only there to help your community, it is part of the community."
"Represents those who have no voice, their problems are overlooked and forgotten. United we
have a better opportunity. Help isn't a bad thing."
When I heard what they had to say, I was ready to make our own version of the video. And so were they! They wanted to help. They wanted people to know what it is like in their community. It's not all "rainbows and butterflies". There are organizations like United Way because there are people that need help...and the reasons they need help aren't always pretty, easily put in a package and tied with a bow. They're real and raw and in-your-face.
So we got to work. We talked to Jeff Ryznar at 898 Marketing, and knew we had the right partner to make this video.
ON SCENE FOR THE VIDEO
Part of my job is to tell the stories of those we help. I, luckily, get to spend one on one time with a lot of the families we serve. I get to know them. I get to go to the programs we fund. I wanted to make sure what we used in our video was from our community, our families, the programs we fund.
The video is great. It's 2 minutes and 41 seconds well worth your time. But there are so many stories behind this video, I want to share them with you. Over the next few months, I'm going to blog about the faces you see in this video. The places where this was filmed. I want you to know the whole story. Because honestly, change doesn't happen alone...to live better...we must LIVE UNITED.