United Way of SWGA Delivers Strong ROI For Donors

Barbara Kieker

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The United Way of Southwest Georgia is about halfway through its 2013 campaign and making good progress. According to LaKisha Bryant Bruce, chief executive officer of United Way of SWGA, interest in the campaign is high.

"In just the last week, we've supported six or seven employee groups with their internal United Way Campaigns. We make presentations on who we are, what we do and how people can assist with the campaign, and donors are responding," Bruce said.

The 2013 campaign goal is $1.2 million, $1 million from the local campaign and the remaining $200,000 from federal employees in the area. The campaign started on Sept. 5th and ends November 30, although some activities continue into December.

According to Bruce, more than $100,000 was raised at the campaign's kick-off luncheon, thanks to United Way Pacesetters. Pacesetters include Target, Georgia Power, UPS, Publix and Procter & Gamble. Campaign activities for federal employees have been limited due to the government shutdown. Bruce hopes to get those efforts underway by the end of October.

Supporting 26 Partner Programs in 13 Counties
United Way of SWGA provides funding for 26 specific programs that are governed by local nonprofit agencies. The programs must fall within four impact areas: education, income, health and basic needs and a 13-county geographic area.

"These four areas are must-haves for a stable community. They form a platform for economic development," Bruce said.

Local nonprofits that receive funding for specific programs must set measurable goals and objectives in each impact area, and then report quarterly to the United Way on their progress. Quarterly reports must include quantitative as well as qualitative data.

"Donors want to hear about the return on the investment they are making in their community and we provide that information," Bruce said.

"We have a high level of accountability. Our agencies have to spell out how they use the funds we provide and tell us the number of people they serve, the demographics and their progress toward their goals. It tells us how United Way is moving the needle."

Efficient Giving in Tough Economic Times
Some of the 26 programs supported by the United Way would not exist without that support, according to Bruce. That makes it especially important to have a successful campaign even during tough economic times.

"Even when times are hard people still want to give. But even more they want to know they are getting a good return on their investment. With the United Way, people know they are impacting 26 programs with their contribution and getting a good return," Bruce said.

A product of United Way-funded programs herself, Bruce is an enthusiastic champion of United Way and its mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities in Southwest Georgia.

"I believe in it. I'm from Albany, went away for college and graduate school and moved back. I know these programs work and can help our community thrive and grow," Bruce said.

More information on the United Way of SWGA is available at unitedwayswga.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unitedwayswga/info. Follow United Way of SWGA on Twitter @UWSWGA.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.