United Way Moves to the Highest Standards of Nonprofit Financial and Organizational Management
United Ways across America are making a concerted effort to change their business models to be more relevant and impactful in the communities they serve. This means shifting from the historic “community chest”, with a broad charitable mission, to a change agent focused on substantive community impact to solve the most pressing civic challenges. The solution includes focusing the community, convening partners and directing financial and personnel resources to effectuate real change.
Like other United Ways that have walked this path, United Way of the National Capital Area is now building a local version of this proven model for community impact. On June 21, our Board of Directors approved a significant strategic shift for our organization. We’ll continue our historic role as a central fundraising vehicle supporting our nonprofit membership, but we are also setting a new vision and purpose for our organization, with a more fundamental objective of creating sustained change in our community.
Focusing on the three fundamental building blocks to advance the common good--education, health and financial stability--this United Way is recruiting people and organizations from all across the national capital area bringing passion, expertise and resources to improve our community and simply stated: get things accomplished! Again, we will continue to support a wide range of member nonprofits, but more of our future work will revolve around these three building blocks assuring that individuals have family sustaining jobs and an improved quality-of-life.
Specifically, our collaboration strategies to address these building blocks include these collective impact essentials:
- Funders and implementers understand that social problems and their solutions arise from the interaction of many organizations within a larger system.
- Progress depends on working towards the same goal and measuring the same things.
- Corporate and government sectors are essential partners.
- All participants seek to create lasting changes in community conditions.
Additionally, organizations actively coordinate their action and share lessons learned. This is where the new United Way will play a defining role – as a key contributor and backbone to a dynamic method of how our civic problems are resolved.
Through unique partnerships and approaches, we are mobilizing resources beyond the dollars that are pledged through fundraising efforts, and we are bringing diverse people and resources together to address the most urgent issues our communities face. More than ever before, we and our nonprofit members are reaching into the community at large and including schools, government policy makers, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, voluntary and neighborhood associations, community development corporations, and the faith community in our efforts.
All of these business model changes will not be easy to implement. But, we believe they are absolutely necessary to make the United Way more relevant, trusted, and financially stable. Further, we are confident that United Way NCA and our member nonprofits, large and small, will mobilize the caring power of communities to create lasting changes that improve peoples’ lives. And that’s what collective impact is all about.
President and CEO
United Way of the National Capital Area