How a decades-old nonprofit reimagined brand awareness to appeal to a modern day generation of givers
United Way of Central Minnesota was founded in 1967. It played a crucial role in community wellbeing as a trusted, centralized source of funding for local nonprofit organizations. One key way to generate this generosity was through workplace giving campaigns. Employees could allocate a certain amount from each check to the United Way throughout a year. Steady, recurring donations made it easy for givers to support a worthy organization. And, it worked … until it didn’t.
Millennials and Gen Z comprise today’s new demographics. Many individuals under age 40 want to feel deeply connected to causes they support they are less inclined to support third-party organizations like United Way. As a result, workplace giving has been on an alarming and steady decline over the last 10 years.
This is where Vye comes into the picture. United Way of Central MN came to Vye with critical needs to address the demographic gap in awareness and giving:
Setting a strong strategic foundation with United Way of Central MN was crucial to our ongoing success. We needed to bring all stakeholders together to agree on a common vision. We needed consensus from the United Way marketing team and support and comprehension from its leadership team and board of directors.
What better way to do that than putting on a show?
First we followed our research and discovery process to uncover key persona details about target audiences. We developed a comprehensive strategic campaign outlining each initiative needed in order to hit goals. Then we put on a show featuring Vye employees standing on a makeshift stage, acting out scenarios as three identified personas. We aimed to make stakeholders feel connected to the personas, and in the right presence to understand campaign strategy direction. This creative, fun approach paid off. We received buy-in from all stakeholders and approval to launch marketing initiatives.
Per our research and strategy build process, we collaboratively define goals to measure throughout the campaign. During this nine-month campaign, our goals were:
Building a website and marketing machine that streamlined communication set up United Way of Central MN for a level of success it didn’t anticipate. Vye had definitive goals, but other unexpected benefits have made this partnership stronger:
Streamlined event setup and communication. Prior to Hubspot, setting up an event was painful. The HubSpot CMS and integrated HubSpot Marketing Hub are intuitive and easy for non-technical staff and volunteers to use.
The United Way team assumed a blog wouldn’t perform. The previous content strategy was random, lacking optimization. By leveraging tools like Ahrefs, Google Analytics, and HubSpot, Vye defined a content strategy that’s gained significant traction. It increased from a few dozen visits to over 500 in a single month.
“Let us do what we love so you can do what you love.” This theory sums up the purpose of developing strategic partnerships. It’s especially true with United Way of Central MN. Its team is changing the trajectory of Central Minnesota, making a real difference in the community. Nothing should stand in the way of that kind of impact—especially not technology and marketing. Removing barriers for the United Way team to do what they do best has been an incredibly rewarding experience for our agency.
We enjoyed instant gratification by blowing most of the goals out of the water, yet we know the impact of this United Way campaign will extend far beyond a nine-month snapshot. We’ve developed a communication tool and identified a messaging framework that will benefit United Way of Central MN for years to come.
Building a pipeline of passionate givers takes time. In organizations like United Way, the goal isn’t just to impact the current year. It’s to build toward a future 50 years down the road. We have helped United Way reach a difficult to pin down the audience. Showcasing United Way in front of Millenials and Gen Z means cementing a better future for the community.
Are you looking for help reaching a new audience or ramping up your marketing efforts?
Whether you just have a few questions and are looking for some professional insight, or you’re looking for an invested strategic partner, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with our marketing experts.