United Way of San Diego County
OFTEN THE REAL PROBLEM IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK
When Nancy Sasaki was appointed as CEO of the United Way of San Diego County, she was given the reigns of an organization that had been challenged to communicate how it had been changing. The fourth CEO in 6 years, the organization was having difficulty in determining its direction.
UWSD had a declining donor base that impacted their ability to do good work, and less agencies were willing to partner on shared issues because they weren’t sure they had shared goals. Internally, staff had concerns that the organization was not serving the people that needed them the most; children, young adults and families.
Nancy knew she had a complex problem, and that she needed an expert to help facilitate a solution. With a successful engagement at her previous post, Nancy partnered with The Idea Guy to customize a solution that met her needs, budget and timetable.
A project plan was designed that included a “Community Listening” program, which invited everyone to take surveys, join webinars, participate in focus groups and interviews. The purpose was to build an emotional understanding of the people involved. Leadership, managers and staff contributed to understanding the many points of view.
Everyone provided feedback on the ideas generated, and the Board ultimately approved a new strategy to improve education, increase accessibility and rebuild trust.
“We strengthen our community when we align with partners and leverage our resources to transform lives.”
With successful testing at stakeholder salons, prototype brochures, banners and ads are being released at the annual Community Breakfast. Nancy will share what UWSD has learned during their listening, as well as their new approach to helping everyone better understand their work.