The “gift catalogue” campaign has been used before by global organizations and I had the chance to speak with UWLM’s President and CEO, Michael McKnight, about how it works for them. “People want to give meaningful things these days,” Michael said. “We thought we would take that same concept and see if there were people locally that were interested in the issues around them and wanted to support those programs and service that they, or their neighbours, use.” He added that it’s also a great way to find something to give the person who has everything.
You can browse gifts by price-point, ranging from under $25 to over $500. The online catalogue includes everything from a square meal for $6 for a child or family (you can purchase multiple amounts) , sports equipment (soccer balls, basketball hoops) for $39, to cooking classes and housing for seniors (up to $1200). This is the second year of Imagine and they hope to raise $150,000 surpassing last year’s inaugural fundraising total of $90,000.
There are three specific age ranges or communities that the UWLM supports, from Pemberton to Langley. Kids 0-6 years of age, making sure they are ready to start school. Kids 6-12 years old, supporting them after school hours. And, supporting the aging population through seniors programs, housing, transportation and social activities.
When you give from the catalogue you’ll also receive a card that you can print and hand to the recipient of your gift. Select an e-card option if you do not wish to print.
As a side note, I asked Michael about the power of social media as he sees it since I first learned about this campaign through the @UWLM Twitter account. “There’s a growing recognition of the importance of social media,” he told me adding that many wonder if it drives donations or simply keeps causes font of mind. “The real impact of social media is keeping donors connected to the kinds of work that charities do.”
United Way has helped people in the Lower Mainland for nearly 80 years and works to meet emerging challenges and improve social conditions.