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Cornell United Way. Jonathan Saltman , Song Ye, Chengyu Xing. Project Members. Cornell United Way Gary Stewart Director of Community Relations. Cornell Institute of Public Affairs Laurie J. Miller Capstone and Public Service Initiative Program Coordinator. CIPA Student Consultants

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Cornell united way

Cornell United Way

Jonathan Saltman, Song Ye, Chengyu Xing

Project members
Project Members

Cornell United Way

Gary Stewart

Director of Community Relations

Cornell Institute of Public Affairs

Laurie J. Miller

Capstone and Public Service Initiative Program Coordinator

CIPA Student Consultants

Jonathon Saltman’13

Chengyu Xing ’14

Song Ye ’14


Project Introduction






  • Literature Review

  • Benchmarking

  • Peer institutions and campaigns

    - Goals, fundraising strategy, performance, impact

  • United Way fundraising experience and ideas

  • Interviews

  • Internal: Cornell faculty and staff

  • External: Peer institutions and campaigns

    - UW of Greater New Haven, Purdue U, U of Rochester, U of Miami

  • United Way of Tompkins County


What We Are Doing Well – Great Core/Base of Operations

  • Administration Cost Covered

  • Website

  • Ambassadors

  • Involvement of the University President

  • Basic Marketing Structure and Mailings


Where We Can Improve -Marketing and Advertising

  • Time: campaign primarily conductedduring peak season

  • Method: low key promotion (thermometer)

  • Donor Education:

    • Administrative costs covered

    • Cornell’s role in the campaign – Why is Cornell asking for more money?

    • Organizations aided by UW

    • Designated giving

      • To specific charities

      • To UW charities outside of Tompkins County

    • Perks of giving to CUW instead of directly to charities


Where We Can Improve– Turnover

  • CUW board and staff substantially change annually

    • Need to “reinvent the wheel” every year

    • Need more consistency for ideas to be formulated, developed, and implemented

  • Staff is all volunteer

    • Not part of staff’s primary responsibilities

      • Lower priority


Where We Can Improve –Ambassador Education and Communication

  • Ambassadors receive some education at the beginning of campaign

  • Minimal consistent communication and motivation

  • Lessunderstanding of CUW goals, purpose, and drive

  • Motivation could be increased

    • Ambassadors key in increasing participation


Where We Can Improve –Data Collection and Specified Goals

  • Minimal data collection = minimal analysis and understanding of where we can improve

  • Goals for the program can be better promoted

    • Tailored/ customized goals for different divisions based on CUW’s goals and respective past successes per division


  • Establish Concrete Goals

  • Work with Ambassadors

  • Competitions and Recognition

  • New Marketing Strategies

  • Organization Optimization

  • Cornell’s Commitment


1. Establish Concrete Goals

  • Timetable – 5 year goal

    • Not an abstract concept

  • Individual division goals

    • Change from year to year based on divisional changes, CUW goals, and past performance

  • Make goals known among CUW ambassadors as well as Cornell faculty and staff

    • Constant promotion


2. Improve Work With Ambassadors

  • Increased communication

  • More training

    • Goals, purpose, and benefits of CUW

    • Clarifying the misunderstandings

      • Allow them to be the first line of defense with all of the information faculty and staff may need

  • Allow options for other CUW people to come and talk to their divisions

    • Some ambassadors may not feel comfortable

  • Appreciation parties


3. Competitions and Recognition

  • Divisional

    • Best participation rate

    • Best overall

    • Most improved

    • Reaching the goals set for their division

    • Recognition of achievements

  • Donors

    • Those who give 1% of their salary attenda special dinner

    • Silent actions

    • Make the goals known and why


4. Marketing Strategies

  • Clarify the key aspects of CUW and reasons for giving

    • Why it is better to give through CUW

      • Designations, extensive research into charity needs, easy ways of giving (payroll deduction/ mail/ online)

      • Goals of the program

        • More than just money – participation

  • Small donations can go a long way

    • $5 = a cup of coffee or this much food

    • These are important for beginner donors and those with limited means and can encouraged continued giving in later years


4. Marketing Strategies

  • Year round information campaign

    • Staff meeting presentations

    • Testimonials - People who have been helped by UW as well as key donors

    • Information on how their money is being used

  • Volunteer days

    • Allow people to see the needs within the city

    • Skills of faculty and staff are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars

    • Already available on campus – increase knowledge of these

      • Won’t work for all divisions but can make a difference

  • Dinners and social events

    • $100 a plate dinner, $30 happy hour or picnics, silent auctions

    • Gets the message out, allows people to socialize around CUW, promotes information, invites donations from those who otherwise wouldn’t give


5. Organization Optimization

  • Part-time consistent employee

    • New part-time employee; or add to an existing employee’s responsibilities

  • Lack of annualturnover among senior leadership

  • Unpaid student interns

  • Better utilize existing resources

    • Cornell Annual Fund staff, Charles Phlegar

    • UW of Tompkins County - testimonials, marketing, research, data collection

  • On-boarding procedures

    • Not mandated but mentioned

  • Human Resources

    • Demographic data collection and analysis


6. Cornell’s Commitment

  • Compared with CAF and other fundraising initiatives and conflicting goals

  • Specifically determine how much Cornell is willing to give to this endeavor

    • Time, emphasis, funding

    • University president is key

  • Cornell’s commitment will designate the success of these recommendations

    • Must put full strength of Cornell behind CUW if we are going to be successful

Cornell united way