United Way adopting new business model

Special to The Log

The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties has announced its adoption of a Community Impact and Investment model starting this year.

Operating autonomously from United Way Worldwide in all but name, each local United Way is free to craft its organization according to the needs of the local community. Over the past 60 years the United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties has committed itself to the traditional payroll deduction campaign and funds distribution process to more than 40 local charities.

However, in accordance with the national trend there has been a decrease in the traditional work place campaign. To cope with this, many United Ways have moved away from funding the individual needs of individual agencies and instead focus on the needs of the community to measure impact. Once they’ve identified a set of goals to be addressed, it becomes easier to fundraise for those specific needs and allocate funds in the form of grants to specific non-profit programs that will target them. This is the model the United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties will adopt for their 2017 campaign.

At this moment, the Community Impact and Investment team has scheduled focus groups for for this month that will be open to the public.

Traditionally, a group of 40 volunteers has been grouped into panels to conduct on site visits of over 40 partner agencies. This year, donors, volunteers, agency executives, and members of the public are invited to take part in focus groups divided into the United Way’s three impact areas of Education, Financial Stability, and Health. The next round of focus groups, taking place the last week of May, will establish a set of measurable outcomes for each issue they identified in April.

United Way is uniquely positioned to serve in this role as leader and community convener for change with its wide network of people of passion, expertise and resources to make a difference. The local United Way is evolving from its roots as a fundraising organization, and charting a course for change by advancing education, income and health through collective impact. To get involved, please contact Sarah Voltmann Costello at sarah@united-way.org.