Case study: United Way of Cambridge & North Dumfries

cover of campaign brochure for the United Way of Cambridge & North DumfriesAmong Communicate & Howe’s strengths are identifying and implementing new, different or better ways of communicating, determining how to get the best bang for your buck and enhancing the quality of communications.

Earlier this year, the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries looked to us to use these strengths to assist their communications efforts. What follows is a case study of this work to assist you to enhance your own communications.

Communications audit

The first step was to conduct a communications audit to identify how the United Way could enhance its efforts with its existing resources.

Community Report

This new publication combined the annual report that was a functional piece used at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and a Leadership Brochure that was primarily a donor list but had started to include information about the impact of donations. The Community Report was more marketing oriented and helped the organization report on its work to the communities it serves. The stories highlighted the United Way’s five community priorities. This document can be used at the AGM, to approach businesses and major donors and other community partners.

Read the 2011 Community Report of the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries.

Corporate Support Guide

The primary document used to approach business for support was revised to make it even easier to quickly see how they could help. A list of program investments by community priority was included in the centre spread so that readers could see which partner agencies and programs were funded.

Read the corporate support guide for the United Way of Cambridge & North Dumfries.

Campaign Poster

An unusual size (17″ x 5.5″) was selected to help the poster to stand out from other posters. It also meant more posters could be cost-effectively ordered if desired.

See the poster for the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries 2011 campaign.

Campaign Brochure

The brochure has three panels but each is 3.75″  x 5″ so it too had a different size and orientation. The theme was that “your gift changes lives” so that individuals approached knew how their donation would help. It raised awareness of the five community priorities, a list of partner agencies and examples of how different levels of giving make an impact–all while encouraging giving.

Read the 2011 campaign brochure for the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries.


The United Way wanted to enhance its website without getting into a major relaunch. So changes were recommended to make it easier for users to find information and connect them to the pages that encouraged them to give or volunteer.

Some of these changes were:

  • New main menu titles to be more audience-centric
  • Make the homepage more attractive and effective such as making the donate now button more prominent
  • More links between pages in different sections
  • Adding a complete list of partner agencies at the top of that page with links to detailed information lower on the page.

Surf to the website of the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries. You might make a gift to support its partner agencies while you are there!


Hopefully, this quick overview helps you to see how your communications efforts can be enhanced by taking a look at how your existing resources can best be used to achieve your mission.

I am proud of the work that we’ve done for the United Way and hope that it assists it to achieve success in its upcoming campaign.