About United Way of Greater St. Louis

United Way was formed in 1887 when a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The first campaign raised $21,700 for 22 agencies.

United Way of Greater St. Louis began in 1922 as the Community Fund, organized by volunteers to raise money to help operate 40 charities.

By the 1950s, more than 1,000 communities across the United States and Canada had established United Ways. In 1974, United Ways raised nearly $1.04 billion, marking the first time in history that a single organization raised more than $1 billion in an annual campaign. Over its long history, United Way has helped with everything from the Persian Gulf War to the Olympic torch relay to the President’s Summit for America’s Future. It’s won awards, such as the Charity of Choice from Financial World magazine. Across the country, United Ways now raise more than $4 billion annually.

Today, the United Way of Greater St. Louis helps one in three people in the St. Louis region annually. Through United Way’s local partnership with more than 170 nonprofit agencies, as well as programs and services such as United Way 2-1-1, STLVolunteer, and others, more than one million people are served by United Way each year.

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United Way of Greater St. Louis chooses WealthEngine to identify high-potential prospects and support its fundraising efforts.

The Client
United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind — helping people live their best possible lives.

United Way of Greater St. Louis began in 1922 as the Community Fund, organized by volunteers to raise money to help operate 40 charities. By the 1950s, more than 1,000 communities across the United States and Canada had established United Ways. In 1974, United Way raised nearly $1.04 billion, marking the first time in history that a single organization raised more than $1 billion in an annual campaign. Over its long history, United Way has helped with everything from the Persian Gulf War to the Olympic torch relay to the President’s Summit for America’s Future. It’s won awards, such as the Charity of Choice from Financial World magazine. Across the country, United Ways now raise more than $4 billion annually.

Today, the United Way of Greater St. Louis helps one in three people in the St. Louis region annually. Through United Way’s local partnership with more than 170 nonprofit agencies, as well as programs and services such as United Way 2-1-1, STLVolunteer, and others, more than one million people are served each year.

The Challenge
The United Way of Greater St. Louis is used to getting big results. With $75 million raised annually, it is the fourth largest United Way in the nation despite working within the 21st largest metropolitan area. David Poe, CTO of United Way of Greater St. Louis, knew that his organization could continue to improve and support the community even more. So, he began the search for a wealth intelligence solution to put more information in the hands of his staff and yield even better fundraising results.

The United Way of Greater St. Louis had used a wealth solution in the past, but discovered it wasn’t being properly utilized. “We had used a wealth solution in the past, but didn’t renew due to budgetary concerns,” said Poe. “There was a perception here that we didn’t use wealth data properly, and individuals weren’t getting the full value out of the available solutions.”

After taking a 3-year sabbatical from using a wealth intelligence platform, Poe and his colleagues realized that it was more beneficial to use wealth and philanthropic data to help inform their fundraising efforts. Led by a smaller fundraising team with one of the lowest overheads across all United Ways, they needed to be efficient with their use of tools to get the best results. Poe decided to test out WealthEngine versus its other wealth intelligence competitors in this decision-making process.

The Choice
The United Way of Greater St. Louis has two main initiatives. The first is to look at existing donors and better understand who to target and the right ask amount. Their main goal is to move as many people as they can from the $1,000 donation range to the $2,500 donation range. The second initiative is their Tocqueville Society initiative. This is a separate group that engages loyal donors looking to become more deeply involved in United Way’s mission. Their goal is to contribute to a $100 million endowment campaign.

Data quality was the primary factor that went into their decision. Poe stressed the importance for getting the most out of a system with the least amount of resources. With a smaller development team operating in a large market, they need to work efficiently.
The United Way of Greater St. Louis chose WealthEngine because of its substantially higher data quality than its competitors and the outstanding user interface. Poe said, “We ultimately found that WealthEngine’s data was much more accurate than any of the other platforms, and that we had more data available to us. Having a complete picture of our donors and prospects is key, so it’s important that we align ourselves with the best data in the industry.”

Putting it to Use & Next Steps
The team has been using WealthEngine for just a few short months, but is already seeing some great successes. “For most United Ways, the prime fundraising season starts in September,” says Poe. “We kickoff most our campaigns then, but the hard work starts now. We need to build strong relationships early so that people know our organization and what we’re doing in the community. We’re already utilizing WealthEngine in a strategic way to identify high-profile individuals and help with our asks.”

“We really like the level of granularity we can get in the data,” continues Poe. “Understanding details, such as propensity to give and giving capacities helps to fill in gaps in the profiles within our database. Finding out the detailed donation history and what prospects have given to other organizations can shape what and how much we ask for. Finally, learning about a prospect’s interests can help us better shape the conversation to customize our asks. We are a lot more cautious about the ask now that we have more intelligence that helps us better drive the conversation.”

The United Way of Greater St. Louis team continues to use WealthEngine to find those with a capacity to give and communicate their need for more funding. After identifying those individuals, WealthEngine also helps them target their outreach to personalize the ask. “We want to make sure that we can ask the fewest people for the most amount of money,” adds Poe. “We’re excited for the potential that WealthEngine can add to our fundraising goals.”

To learn more about the United Way of Greater St. Louis or to donate to their organization, please visit their website.

Call us at 877.927.8071 to find out more.

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