United Way Produces Strong ROI

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

Small-business owners know how to get the most out of their money. Tracking cost/benefit ratios is a part of everyday life. They are devoted to efficiency and dedicated to the bottom-line – for every, single dollar.
But how do you track return on investment (ROI) for your community service investment (CSI)? What is the best way to make the greatest difference?

One way some companies and business owners are evaluating charities is through third-party agencies such as Charity Navigator, a national watchdog organization that evaluates more than 4,000 charities.
"One of the best ways to evaluate the return on your donation is to look at the charity’s organizational, fundraising and programming efficiency," said Allen Pressel of Charity Navigator. "A philanthropic gift is an investment, just like anything else."

The highest rating available by Charity Navigator is four stars. Nationally, less than 22 percent of charities receive this acclaim. Locally, United Way of Greater Milwaukee was awarded four-star status. Only nine non-profits in Milwaukee and 17 in the state of Wisconsin can make this claim.

The four-star rating by Charity Navigator is the equivalent to a Standard & Poor’s AAA bond rating or a Morning Star five-star rating for mutual funds.

Another advantage? United Way of Greater Milwaukee only supports results-driven programming and requires program effectiveness and fiscal responsibility of all of its partners.

By working with over 80 agencies, United Way can accomplish more than any one organization alone. Last year, the organization helped over 340,000 people. United Way fulfills its mission of improving lives by meeting immediate needs through its safety net services. But the organization’s recent breaking the cycle of poverty initiative is what is tipping the scale toward the United Way for investors weighing their charitable choices.

"Businesses typically concentrate on metrics and United Way is concentrating on the metrics of breaking the cycle of poverty through job training, asset building and education," says Jay Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of The Private Bank in Milwaukee. "As business owners, we look at how we train our employees to better our business. The same is said for United Way and how it comes together for real change in the community."

And real change is desperately needed. Milwaukee is currently ranked the seventh-poorest city in the country – even worse than New Orleans. When it comes down to it, the health of our community affects us all. If everyone gives what they can and we have strong leadership, we can bring about the kind of change we need to strengthen our community.

With over 75,000 small businesses in the Milwaukee area, the total impact if every small business gave even a hundred dollars would be in the millions. The positive impact and change in the community would be incalculable.

So the next time you review the books or balance the budget, take a minute to consider the return on your charitable donations. An investment in United Way yields long-term change. It is paid out in dividends of thousands of improved lives and results in a stronger community in which your business can flourish. It is a return on your investment that will not only surpass projections, but exceed expectations.

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