United Way Start With Heart

Rally Some Good


Sixty days. From ideation to execution, sixty days was all we had to pull off an event like never before in honor of the Sioux Empire United Way.

That’s the beauty of ideas though, right? They are unexpected, radical and always one month too late. They move people towards action, teamwork and decision-making. This cause was especially close to my heart. Growing up as an active 4-H’er, diving into pageantry in college and finding my love for promoting children’s health and confidence through my own program, Crave A Difference, has formed in me a true passion for giving.

And no one does giving like the Sioux Empire United Way.

From the hundreds of volunteers to the dedicated staff that works tirelessly to allocate funding to programs that benefit one out of three people in our community, the SEUW takes goodness to a whole new level.

Which is why we were so concerned when we learned that while donations had increased, the amount of donors had decreased for the entire United Way. It was that insight that prompted a discussion between L&S, First PREMIER Bank, (a long-time supporter of SEUW) and the SEUW staff on how we could create a rally like never before.

Our 2016 campaign needed to light a fire in people who had gotten a little too comfortable with the idea that someone else will give, so why should I? Research was key in reminding our team how age plays a factor in giving trends. It shakes down like this: Boomers feel confident in sending a check to a national charity, Gen X has grown less trust-worthy and feels local charities are the most deserving of their funds, and Millennials are more impulse givers. They want to have a meaningful experience with a charity to see the actual face of the person they are helping.

Based on this knowledge, we decided to focus on three main things.

1.) Showcase real faces on all print and digital materials.
2.) Talk less about big numbers; talk more about individual impact through a $50 in 16 challenge.
3.) Build a base through an experience like never before.

With those three priorities in mind, our team produced a campaign based on three simple words, the #StartWithHeart campaign.

#StartWithHeart means you recognize the needs of you community and respond. It means whether you are a first time giver of $50.00 or you increase your gift by $50.00 in 2016 you have the heart to take a stand to help your neighbors, co-workers and friends. The beauty of the SEUW is that they take all of the guesswork out for you. When they say, $.90 out of every $1 stays local, it stays local, and it helps the most needed causes to better our entire community.

With the campaign set, the fantastic people at First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard decided to help us with priority number three and contracted not only the local band, Goodroad, but also the iconic rock and roll duo, Heart to kick off the campaign.

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off of the floor.

The purpose of the concert was two-fold: recognize and thank current donors while continuing to build our base with new and upcoming donors in the community. More than 10,000 tickets were distributed within three days and 500 people were on a wait-list after just one week of the rally being announced. It was a response we never thought possible.

That was just the beginning. Today as I write this blog, I am overwhelmed by the positive experience and happiness the concert brought to the Sioux Empire Monday night. Scott Lawrence and Pam Hanneman did an incredible job igniting the crowd and discussing the real need of our growing community, while SEUW, First PREMIER Bank and L&S teammates made sure the show ran without a hitch. Ann and Nancy were phenomenal and rocked the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center like never before.

SEUW President, Jay Powell, said it best, “I’m leaving with a permanent smile on my face!” That smile was the culmination of witnessing one small vision turning into a reality for 11,000 SEUW supporters, hearing the positive feedback of the difference the SEUW is making in this community, realizing that this was only the start to an inspiring campaign for 2016 and shooting a real, live T-shirt gun. But seriously… dreams do come true.

#StartWithHeart and there is no limit to the good that we can do together.


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