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How United Way Metropolitan Dallas Influenced Millennials to “Give a Check”

By January 4, 2017

By: Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President & CEO for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

At United Way Metropolitan Dallas, we know innovation is critical to continuing to engage and support the communities we serve. As the culture around giving evolves with the millennial generation, nonprofits must follow suit or risk becoming irrelevant. Newer generations are looking for fresh ways to give back – beyond just writing a check or attending an event.

At the same time, corporations are looking for new ways to engage their millennial consumers – through meaningful and FUN initiatives that create ways for them to “feel” and engage with brands. They vote for what they care about with their dollars and actions via their smart phones, seeking authenticity and originality. They’re also entrepreneurial, specifically interested in skipping the corporate lifestyle or typical career track and building businesses that can be financially successful and have social impact at the same time.

So how does an established nonprofit like United Way Metro Dallas break the mold to reach this new generation? The answer: by meeting them on their own “turf.” In October 2016, we created the “OneUp the Vote” campaign to reach new audiences in our Ground Floor social entrepreneurship program that supports local and emerging innovators in North Texas.

One Up the Vote

We challenged them to “give a check without giving a check” by voting for the top social entrepreneurs to receive $100,000 in prizes. Rather than asking them for a donation, we asked them to tell us how to donate funds to exciting and innovative new ideas from emerging entrepreneurs. We engaged with a range of corporate sponsors including Deloitte and AT&T to help underwrite the campaign, and engaged local media and social media influencers to help spread the word.

We did this through a series of fun surprises and video storytelling content to get people in the competitive spirit by challenging different community leaders, social entrepreneurs, and companies to “#OneUpThat” each other and “#GiveACheck.” The competition got a little wild (see below video) – but that fun, spontaneous, and light-hearted content was a key to our strategy of connecting with a millennial audience in an authentic and viral way.

And last but certainly not least, behind the scenes we leveraged Salesforce technology throughout the campaign to achieve some of our best marketing KPIs ever – adding 57% new users to our online audiences, reaching 20M+ impressions and adding 24,000 new constituents to our email list and more. Check out our full campaign score card below. The powerful tracking and monitoring tools were critical to the success of our campaign – as a nonprofit organization, collecting and analyzing data is critical to ensuring that we innovate in a smart, thoughtful and efficient way.

Audience and social reach

So what’s next for us? We’re all about the #hustle. Now that we’ve grown our audience, we’ll continue to use creative content, campaigns and technology to engage them in new ways, ultimately converting them into our future donors and supporters.

Learn More with the Connected Nonprofit Report