Augmenting local impact is the focus of the United Way Southern Vancouver Island’s new campaign, Help a Neighbour. People can tap into their community through an interactive map to find out more about those whose lives are impacted by donations. The campaign aims to raise $300,000 and has the potential to impact 15,000 individuals.
By raising awareness of the reality in people’s own neighbourhoods or backyards, Help a Neighbour was conceived and built to the theme of “change a life right here right now.” The aim was to show donors and supporters where barriers exist; how a donation can make a direct impact in one’s neighbourhood; and to showcase local services.
“We work with so many wonderful partner agencies that it sometimes is difficult to showcase,” says Mark Breslauer, CEO of the United Way Southern Vancouver Island. “When you’re really localized, it makes a huge difference for people — they get so much more tangible.”
Breslauer says they engaged heavily with partners in the community to help identify needs and the right approach.
It took a few short months of focused, collaborative work for the team to create the interactive map that is easy to use and quick to reveal the direct impact of where you’d like to direct your funds. The data focuses on four key areas of action that the United Way Southern Vancouver Island identified with their partners. Those are: assisting isolated seniors in need; families; diversity, equity and inclusion; and individuals who are struggling with mental health and or addictions.
The real power in this tool is the insight it provides through a combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
The quantitative insight illuminates just how many people are facing challenges in particular communities — that’s powerful information, says Breslauer. It’s also information that makes donations transparent, countering any doubts about where your money is going to be spent.
The personal stories bring the qualitative and the emotional element, these stories “tug at your heartstrings.” These stories were collected over time, but cataloging and personalizing those stories was a new dimension in terms of localization.
“We’re working with individuals and to the extent we can make it more prominent and personal,” says Breslauer, who adds that, despite confidentiality challenges, many people were very willing to share their stories. “And that story really makes a difference — knowing that individual who received the meal or had mental health challenges.”
In investment into this campaign and the digital toolkit were made with the ambition to achieve the targeted $300,000 donation, but additionally to raise awareness that could lead to other fundraising opportunities.
“We believe that this has great appeal to businesses to adapt to be part of their sponsorship opportunities around this,” says Breslauer. “We feel that this minimum of 300,000 is fairly ambitious, but could certainly be well surpassed. With certain businesses customizing, they could focus on a specific area of action, perhaps its families in need or its diversity — tailoring it to their local neighborhood.”