Feature: Employees helping change the face of United Way

Employees helping change United Way's public image

December 23, 2013

Changing the public perception of an iconic charity is no small challenge.

Vanessa Maniago has been tasked with altering the public image of United Way – the non-for-profit organisation that co-ordinates a national system of volunteers, contributors, and local charities helping people in their own communities.

Her approach has been simple. Employees, customers and donors are all prominent in United Way’s next advertising campaign – telling the organisation’s story directly from the people on the front-line.

Vanessa told the Las Vegas Business Post: “When I joined United Way, I was charged with repositioning the organisation’s brand and changing its public image.

“We needed an infusion of energy, a way to let people know that it’s not your father’s or grandfather’s United Way.

“Our “Faces of Change” advertising campaign features real people – real donors, real recipients, real staff members.

“It’s a level playing field, with these folks telling our story. I think the work defies some of the expected conventions of this kind of marketing, which typically focus only on aid recipients.”

In her role as vice president for branding and marketing at the organisation, Vanessa is responsible for United Way’s advertising strategy, PR, brand management, internal communications and all external communications.

She has been in her role for the past two years – and is keen to stress that behaviour change campaigns make a real difference to making the world a better place.

Vanessa added: “One reason United Way appealed to me was the holistic nature of its work.

“We know, through years of research, that social challenges cannot be solved by one silver bullet, but rather by focusing on the true building blocks of a good life: health, education and financial stability.

“For example, without a quality preschool education, four-year-old Delilah will fall behind her peers.

“She may not have access to preventive medical care, or may not even own a toothbrush. Her mom needs help with financial literacy like budgeting and managing credit wisely so their family can weather any storm.

“To ensure Delilah’s success, we need to provide solutions that work together to overcome all these challenges.

To read the full interview, visit the Las Vegas Business Post article here…..