Robson Media Centre, Vancouver.
September 16, 1982
Welcome to the opening play of a new team in our province – TEAM B.C. My name is George Fierheller and I might be thought of as being the coach.
Some of the original strategists were Joe Martin of B. C. Business Magazine and Richard Aim, a consultant in Vancouver. The quarterback is Skip Triplett and you will be hearing from him in his position as our Executive Director, in a few minutes.
This is truly a team effort. TEAM B.C. is not just the people on the executive committee. It is all of you who share the objective of keeping B.C. moving.
This province has been hard-hit by an international recession. But the last thing we should do is pass the buck to someone else. ‘They’, whoever ‘they’ may be, are not going to solve our problems for us. ‘They’ cannot help if we are not prepared to help ourselves.
This is what TEAM B.C. is all about.
We live in a marvellous province. We have a small population but one of the best educated in the world.
We have unmatched natural resources, including all kinds of sources of energy. We have forests. We have one of the world’s great supplies of fresh water.
We have a marvellous climate in one of the most scenic locations in the world.
We are located on the resource-hungry Pacific Rim.
In a word, we have everything going for us. However, as this is the first major recession most of us have gone through, confidence in our ability to turn the situation around is shaken.
What we may not recognize is that difficult times create oppor tunities. A period of retrenchment also gives us an opportunity for re-evaluation of the types of careers we are in, the communi ties we live in and even the businesses or organizations we run.
The aim of TEAM B.C. is to act as a catalyst to help us help each other in this process.
WHAT IS TEAM B.C.?
We believe it should encompass everyone who wants to help. There is a small voluntary executive committee of citizens from various sectors of the economy and various regions of the province.
The organization is not aligned with any political party, any special interest group, or any particular point of view.
The organization plans to work with labour, business, educational and media groups on a short-term basis toâ€¦
â€¢ promote confidence that we can and will turn the economy around
â€¢ help people, companies and communities to help themselves
â€¢ bring out new ideas for job creation and for new industries
THE PROGRAM TO MEET THESE AIMS
1. Promote Confidence:
There are plenty of good, innovative ideas and projects in B.C. despite the economic downturn. Organizations and governments at all levels are still developing positive programs.
We have set up an information exchange to collect as many positive news items as we can and will distribute these through a news letter and bulletins for use by the media and more importantly, to inspire others to pick up on good ideas.
We have established a speakers’ bureau to assist local groups throughout the province.
2. Develop Self-Help Programs:
Many communities have been particularly hard-hit. This is a time for a sensible assessment of the resources in communities and on a self-help basis, an opportunity for plotting new directions.
TEAM B.C. can help in this process. We have developed, with the help of Connor Development Services Ltd., a program for communities to start helping themselves. We will be holding our first community workshop or ‘workout’ on October 15th in Victoria and will be inviting community leaders from around the province to attend.
We expect to be-working closely with the educational community and associations, labour unions and other groups to encourage these community workshops.
3. Encourage New Job Creation Opportunities:
We are planning a series of industry workshops in co operation with business and labour to examine ways of creating new, entrepreneurial activities and new jobs.
We are holding a renewal B.C. conference in Vancouver January 19-21, 1983 to pull together many of these ideas. As a final commitment, we plan to pursue as many practical recommendations as arise out of these efforts with the private sector and various levels of government to ensure that the ideas are not lost.
HOW WILL TEAM B.C. GET FINANCIAL SUPPORT ?
We are doing as much as we can on a volunteer basis. We estimate that over $200,000 worth of services, supplies, peoples’ time and some limited funds have already been provided by the private sector. To date, no government support has been provided or specifically requested. Our intent is that no single group will be asked to do more than its share and no group will be allowed to dominate the financing.
HOW IS TEAM B.C. ORGANIZED?
We are incorporated under the B. C. Societies Act as a non profit organization.
Our work is done through a series of committees headed by volunteers.
We are fortunate, however, in having some volunteers on a full-time basis and so we have been able to staff an office for the period we will be operating.
HOW LONG WILL TEAM B.C. OPERATE?
We are an ad hoc group with a short-term objective of helping this province, not only get out of the present recession but also be better positioned to reach its full potential. We have therefore put a ‘sunset’ law on the activity and expect to complete our work as a stimulant by June 30, 1983.
This means we operate with a real sense of urgency!
We are a catalyst operating in the short run to stimulate others to help themselves on a truly team basis.
We are not going to become part of the bureaucracy. Our approach is to work through and with existing organizations who can carry on the efforts when the team dissolves and its members go back to their other occupations.
We do not, of course, pretend to have all the answers. We are not a ‘they’ upon whom others should lean. We be lieve you have the answers for your communities, your organiza tions or your own careers.
What we can do is to provide an organized way of looking at what can be done – a framework in which the people of the province can help themselves.
YOU CAN JOIN THE TEAM
I hope you all consider yourselves a part of this team effort. You can help by –
1. Writing and telling us what you or your community organization are doing to turn this difficult period into a time of opportunity.
2. Suggesting what you believe could be done in your community at a grass roots level.
3. Volunteering to attend or lead a workshop in your community.
Contributions are, of course, welcome in any amount. They should be sent to TEAM B.C., 524 Davie Street, Vancouver, B.C.
These will help us ensure that the things we cannot get volun teered such as postage and telephone costs are covered and that the support is as broad as possible.
However, your participation is the most important thing. TEAM B.C. in turn will keep you up-to-date on what others are doing to help themselves.
Because we were a high-flying province, we fell faster than others. We can use the same energy and inventive approach that got us up there in the first place to get us back up there quickly.
Back to Section K Index or just read on
A TEAM B.C. TALK
“Of course we’re going to pull out of this recession – it is only a matter of time.”
I’m sure that everyone has either heard or made that statement and I expect all of us believe it.
After all, this is British Columbia! Our lifestyle has always been the envy of the rest of the nation and this downturn is only a somewhat inexplicable deviation from the way things were intended to be.
We have all the natural gas anyone would want, and even a bit of oil thrown in. We have one of the world’s largest supplies of fresh water. We have coal. We have seemingly limitless amounts of inexpensive hydro electric power. We have vast forests. Incredible fisheries. We have mineral wealth.
And thoughtfully, we located all of this in one of the most beauti ful parts of the world. Finally, we located the whole package on the Pacific Rim – gateway to that part of the world with the greatest future potential for economic development.
SO WHO NEEDS A TEAM B.C.?
If we just wait a while the Japanese will start buying coal again, the U.S. will start building homes again and things will sort themselves out.
Well thank heaven that people are positive in their outlook about the province. Everything noted above is true. If we cannot ‘make it’ in this province, then we have to have gone out of our way to mess things up.
SO WHY A TEAM B.C.?
Our first aim is to get people to act as though they really believed all the above. For if we really believe it, we should be planning now to ensure that we capitalize on what we all hope is the bottom of the recession.
Interest rates are coming down. The stock market has made a recovery, we have every reason to be optimistic.
However, we are acting in an uncertain manner, and without our usual buoyant west coast confidence. We are still concerned by the negative reports in the media. We wonder if:
â€¢ The market rise is just a ‘professional push’ by money managers taking advantage of a short term decline in interest rates. We realize that such major fund managers have to perform as they get close to year end, or they will lose their jobs. And the stockbrokers all realize that money is only made on movement in the market.
â€¢ And are these lower interest rates only a pre-U.S. November election phenomena?
â€¢ Or is there any indication of any true upturn in business prospects? The corporate profit reports are still very weak.
â€¢ And what about that government deficit? It could be as high as two billion dollars in B.C. with growing demands on welfare and declining stumpage revenue. At the federal level the deficit could easily top $26 billion.
And so we are acting with caution. Caution does not lead to rapid recovery.
Therefore, the original reason for TEAM B.C. was to try to balance the flow of negative media stories with reports of the positive. There are plenty of them.
When I first became associated with TEAM B.C., I looked at our own company and realized that while we were going through a temporary, and quite unnecessary downturn, we were actively planning to spend about $10 million in the next twelve months on launching anew project in B.C. – Pay Television.
No sooner had team B.C. got under way, than the electronic Manufacturer’s Association wrote saying that their companies were in fact enjoying some of the best years ever and they had plenty of positive stories to tell.
Just a couple of weeks ago I attended the opening of Microtel Pacific Research, an exciting new development that received rather minimal press.
A few weeks ago B.C. opened a new methanol plant, which instead of receiving praise as a brave effort, received rather surprisingly poor press.
I learned that even the beleaguered oil companies were launching new tankers on the west coast.
In a word, there are all kinds of positive new programs being started in this province. TEAM B.C. started as a group of volunteers from all segments of the economy and various parts of the province who at heart were just optimists wanting to do what they could to restore confidence and hasten recovery.
The program, as one of our members worded it, is one of Information, Inspiration and Instigation.
We have set up a computerized information exchange for collecting good entrepreneurial ideas which we will exchange through a newsletter.
We will be publishing information about what other organizations in the province are doing in terms of education programs, self-help projects or community renewal ideas.
For communities wishing to undertake community renewal projects, we have established a comprehensive out line of the steps that a community needs to go through based on the successful experience in other parts of the country. We are running workshops to train leaders in this process.
As part of our newsletter service we are publicizing positive things going on around the province to assist the media, who can then follow up on their own. We have established a speakers bureau with volunteers to take the message around the province. We even have a TEAM B.C. song and a TV spot that will be launched very shortly.
We are not stopping, however, with these soft approaches. We have the support of the educational community and numerous associations around the province who have volunteered to help those who want to either start new businesses or learn more about making their present businesses successful. The community colleges are cooperating on a regional basis. Associations of chartered accountants, lawyers and others have volunteered their help in conducting seminars and workshops at the local level.
We believe we have to address the problem of smaller communities in particular, where there may be only a single plant and that plant may never re-open or may only re-open to reduced capacity. We are trying to inspire people in these communities working through the local newspapers and chambers of commerce to examine what resources there are in the community and what alternative projects could be started. For example, a community that was a pulp and papers town may find it has potential as a resort area or wine growing area, or some other hitherto unsuspected prospect.
Any alternative is better than seeing the location turn into a ghost town.
Further, we are planning a major Continuing Conference using the electronic media facilities of the knowledge network and the Open Learning Institute to encourage seminars developed by various industries on what they are doing and what they could be doing in the province. These hope to start with the knowledge Network spring schedule. We plan to have all of this to culminate with a Renewal B.C. Conference at the end of the series.
This is an ambitious program for a purely voluntary organi zation. Everything we have has been donated. The airlines are donating services to get our speakers around the province. The business equipment manufacturers are donating copying machines, display writers and even computer time. The univer sities have assisted with personnel experienced in running conferences. The printing of brochures, and even the space we occupy, has all been donated by the private sector.
To ensure that we do not become just another part of the bureaucracy vie have put a sunset law on the whole project of June 30, 1983. We have done this because we see ourselves merely as being a catalyst to get a number of things underway.
BUT IS IT ENOUGH?
Our thesis has been that only in difficult times is change possible. There is no incentive to take major risks when everything is moving ahead. Therefore, only in times of re cession is fundamental change possible.
I predict that we will look back on this period as being one of the greatest opportunities of the last forty years. We will all be kicking ourselves that we did not buy those shares when they were so depressed, or move back into real estate now that the prices have come down, or use this period to re-evaluate what we ourselves are doing with our own careers or what our companies or organizations may be doing.
My concern is that by accepting the original thesis that every thing will turn around by itself, we could come out of this period no better than we entered it.
We will still be a resource-based economy. We will be subject to business cycles originating elsewhere and over which we have very little con trol. We will still be relying on ‘them’ to provide jobs for us through megaprojects, or to lower interest rates, or to start buying our products again.
THERE IS A BETTER APPROACH
Behind the whole team B.C. Philosophy is a message of renewal. Not renewal in the religious sense, although there is nothing wrong with that approach if it fits one’s individual life style. But rather, a program of using this time to re-examine what we personally are doing, our organizations are doing and our communities are doing. Although not articulated in the current team B.C. Literature, at the heart of this program I believe there must be a dedication to developing new job creating opportunities through new secondary or tertiary industry.
I do not mean by this just minor changes in current plants or current industrial approaches. While I would be the last to discourage it, a new pulp mill may simply be building a new obsolete industrial complex.
I believe that we must look at our major natural resource – our own citizens. We have some of the best educated people in the world. We have fine universities. We have an excellent community college system. Regrettably, we export much of this resource as we export a great many of our other raw materials.
I believe that the future of this province, and indeed this country, will be in taking steps to develop new leading edge industries utilizing our educated and innovative population. For example:
â€¢ We are in the best position to provide the growing Japanese computer hardware market with the computer application software that it so desperately needs.
â€¢ We have the facilities to do innovative development in the micro chip industry. This industry can allow us to produce an intelligent anything we want. The downstream job creating opportunities that could arise from re-examining virtually everything we produce to see how it could be made more saleable and more effective by incorporating more intelligence is absolutely unbelievable.
â€¢ We could re-examine some of our traditional industries. We complain our fishing industry is flat on its fins, but with some innovation, Iâ€™m sure we could start fish farming, particularly looking at lobster, oysters or other high priced delicacies now in short supply.
â€¢ We could, as someone proposed the other day, look at our fresh water supply, much of which is dumped unused into the ocean. Instead of an oil pipeline, how about a water pipe line to Southern California?
â€¢ If we are nervous about nuclear energy, how about using our location to become the world’s expert in geothermal power development or energy developed from temperature changes in ocean levels.
â€¢ And let’s look at that coal, and natural gas, to see if whether some methane, propane or hydrogen fuel alternatives could really be developed instead of being just talked about.
I believe that we must get ourselves out of the ‘fish and chips’ mentality – unless of course we are referring to micro chips.
We have the opportunity to do this now.
â€¢ Interest rates are coming down and I believe that venture capital can be encouraged into these industries.
â€¢ Our housing costs are coming down and we could attract more people to the province if we tried.
â€¢ Although the 6% and 5%, and other programs, are having short term negative affects, in the long run I believe it will bring more stability to our labour costs in the province.
â€¢ We have much of the infrastructure in place in this province to take advantage of these new industries.
We should not look just to government for help. Governments at various levels can assist and are assisting with some very innovative programs.
However, the major assistance that government could give would be through putting the incentive back into the private sector by removing some incentive-killing tax measures, such as capital gains taxes on new enterprises or anti-incentive taxes on corporate stock options, and other devices designed to increase participation and innovation in companies.
We must not let this period of opportunity for the province pass. TEAM B.C. can help as a catalyst, but if it is going to work we must all consider ourselves part of the team and be prepared to help ourselves.
If we use this period wisely everyone will benefit.
Let’s keep B.C. moving, but ensure that we are moving ahead, and not just moving around.
Back to Section K Index or just read on
CAMPAIGN LEADERS’ WORKSHOP, OPENING REMARKS
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO. FEBRUARY 28, 1982
United Way’s have faced all kinds of challenges since the Community Chest concept arose in the 1930’s. The greatest strength of the United Way movement has always been its flexibility to meet changing conditions.
Never before have we been presented with so many opportunities for imaginative new solutions to ever changing conditions.
Fortunately the United Way can build on decades of campaign and community experience and can learn from the work of many dedicated volunteers. But these past experiences must be viewed as the propellers and not the anchors for future campaigns.
I would like to look at a few of the broad challenges that are now facing the United Way and how we can make these challenges into opportunities.
A FEW OF THE CHALLENGES
â€¢ We are viewed as being just another campaign.
â€¢ We are facing incredible inflation rates.
â€¢ Government programmes are threatening to over shadow the work of the voluntary sector.
â€¢ There are some elements of the ‘Me’ generation affecting the voluntary movement.
â€¢ We face aging support for aging agencies.
These are the positive kinds of challenges that keep the United Way young and vigorous. It is worth taking a look at some of them in more detail.
JUST ANOTHER CAMPAIGN
Whether it was called the Community Chest, the Red Feather, the United Appeal or, most recently, the United Way, the concept has always been to run one efficient, cost effective campaign for all the worthwhile needs in the community, except for those specifically covered by capital campaigns and for religious purposes.
I believe that our number one challenge is to make this one campaign concept a reality.
The challenge we face is that other major fund raising organisations appealing to similar publics have been doing a significantly better job at raising money than the United Way/Centraide. Although heart and cancer’s combined public campaigns amounted to $29,000,000 in 1980 compared to the United Way/Centraide’s $92,000,000, the campaigns of these two organisations have been significantly more successful over the past decade. The 1980 Canadian Heart Fund Campaign total represented a 78.5% increase over its 1970 campaign in constant dollars. The Canadian Cancer Society’s 1980 campaign total represented a 65.7% increase.
The 1980 United Way National Campaign represented 14.5% decrease in constant dollars over the 1970 campaign.
It is clear that these campaigns appeal to the emotions. As has often been said, “no-one dies from the United Way,” although this is hardly accurate when one looks at the blood donor campaigns through the Red Cross and other services.
It would be very advantageous if we could encourage the other major funds, principally heart, cancer and Salvation Army, to join once again with the United Way in a composite campaign.
This process is often called ‘inclusiveness’.
There is no doubt, however, that these campaigns will not join unless there is a clear advantage for them to do so.
The advantage may not come so much in additional dollars raised as in lowered campaign costs.
Last year in Vancouver I approached the other funds and received at best a lukewarm reception. However, I did get a somewhat more enthusiastic reception from corporations who were becoming increasingly tired of multiple campaigns that took excessive amounts of executive time, to say nothing of other costs.
I believe the time is right for a major push for the single campaign concept that has always been our strength. However, if this is going to be a reality we are going to have to show much greater flexibility than we have in the past.
There is no way that these organisations would consider becoming agencies of the United Way. They have been that route. They might, however, consider running joint campaigns as independent but cooperative organisations.
We have to use somewhat this approach with the Red Cross which in many United Ways is a partner in the fund raising process.
The advantage would be that we could assist these organisations in reaching corporations and employee groups that they could not otherwise reach, the cost to the United Way would be minimal as the same pledge cards, public relations, programmes and media presentations could be used.
I would go further to suggest that it would not be necessary for these organisations to drop their own campaigns, particularly if they felt they had to do some campaigning to maintain their own profiles. We did not object to the Boy Scouts continuing to run their Apple Day. We should not object to the heart fund continuing a home mailing programme with requests for donations if this is part of their public relations programme. Nor should we object to the Salvation Army doing street corner solicitations as this is part of their community image.
I would encourage the United Way of Canada and individual United Ways to open up such lines of communication with the other funds. If we do not take the initiative then I could see the United Way gradually losing its principal role of offering the public a truly United Way of supporting voluntary agencies.
It would cost the United Way next to nothing to give people an option of contributing to other campaigns on a single pledge card – a little accounting for a big benefit to everyone.
The second biggest problem is getting donors to reassess the base from which they are starting.
As noted earlier, the United Way has been losing ground to inflation since 1970. In fact, only in 1972 and 1978 were the nationwide United Way campaign increases greater than the annual rate of inflation.
I believe the solution to this problem must be to get the public to completely reassess the basis on which they give their United Way contribution. Last year I implemented a variation on the campaign to potential donors.
I instituted the idea of the United Way Day. The purpose was to get everyone in the community to consider giving one day’s pay a year for the work of the United Way agencies.
The advantage is obvious. As pay scales increase with inflation, so automatically would the annual donations to the United Way.
Of more importance, however, is the impact of people no longer thinking in terms of a percentage increase on a totally inadequate base.
We got the government of British Columbia to declare the opening day of the campaign United Way Day. On that day we conceptually asked everyone to consider that they were working for the agencies, and were doing this by working at their normal jobs but donating that day’s pay before tax, (it is tax deductible), for the agencies.
The results were fairly dramatic. We experienced about a 27% increase in employee giving. This helped to offset the difficulties we were encountering in a shaky economic climate in the province.
As I have often pointed out, people effectively work a third to a half of their working lives for the government, i.e. this is what they pay in taxes. Asking them to work one additional day for the United Way voluntary agencies is not too much to ask. I believe the approach was received in this way by the community.
There are of course other public relations advantages to this approach. It led to a much sharper focus on publicity. I still believe that our campaigns are drawn out over too long a period of time, and with some work we should be able to get shorter, snappier campaigns.
Naturally, this is not a one day campaign. The normal process leading up to payroll deduction and the use of household mailers would proceed as usual, i.e. people could still contribute on a year round basis.
However, with a little work, I believe we could get the United Way Day to be a major public relations push. We might consider phone-ins with pledges or other high profile approaches. We might use this to inject into the United Way some of the emotional attraction that Miles for Millions or other such pinpointed campaigns seem to have.
I am sure that the media would appreciate a new approach.
THE UNITED WAY AND THE GOVERNMENT
At our own United Way Annual Meeting I noted Grace McCarthy’s comment when she and I were discussing the United Way that, despite the $6.5 million raised in the Lower Mainland, this only amounted to several days expenditure from her Ministry of Human Resources.
I of course pointed out that there is a 5 to 1 leverage on the money raised through the United Way because of its support of volunteer effort in the community. I also noted that there are many agencies which should never be run by the government. I doubt if many of us would want the Boy Scouts or the Girl Guides or similar organisations to be totally funded by government.
However, if we are going to continue to co-exist with government programmes and find a role in parallel to what they do, then we are going to have to continue to be innovative in our approach to agencies.
I believe that one of the most effective uses of United Way funds is as ‘seed money’. The flexibility available from United Way funds can demonstrate the need for new services which ultimately may be or even should be supported by tax dollars.
I believe that we should not look upon all our current agencies as being the right ones to be supported by voluntary dollars.
It is very important to understand that if we are trying to keep up with inflation and we get ourselves tied to the ongoing support of agencies which are themselves very inflation prone, we may simply never be able to keep up, we should be ready to reassess the agencies we support to ensure that they are:
a) The kind that should never be wholly supported by the government; or
b) They are of the startup kind where some government support should be encouraged; or
c) Are those for which complete government support should be encouraged.
Like the Scouts we too must ‘be prepared’ to reassess and take action where need be. By the same token, it is vital that we look for new agencies to join the United Way family to ensure that we are presenting a well-rounded and well thought through programme for our communities.
The relationship with government goes even farther, in some communities such as the United Way of the Lower Mainland, our Social Planning Council is an integrated part of the organisation. This has its advantages, but it can make fund raising difficult if the roles are not well defined or each side is insensitive to the needs of the other.
Obviously we all promote the concept of constructive criticism. But being an advocate does not mean being an adversary. We would only be properly fulfilling our role as social critics if we are constructively complimentary to governments when they do a good job, just as we should be complimentary to other agencies whether they are part of the United Way movement or not.
It is up to us to show how we fill a parallel role to that of the government. If we do this then our fund raising will be better understood and hence more productive.
THE ‘ME’ GENERATION
I simply do not believe that people are any less generous of their time and money than they ever were. However, they are becoming more selective.
As inflation puts pressure on their pocket books, we must expect them to shop around for the best buy for their charitable donations, just as they shop carefully for anything else.
It is becoming more vital than ever that we show that we provide value and that the cost/benefit is readily apparent.
We must emphasise the efficient 5 to 1 leverage on dollars expended through voluntary agencies.
But if we are to continue to get the right kinds of volunteers we must make them feel and be in a position of influence. The staff of the United Way agencies and the United Way itself does an excellent job, but it is a mistake to assume that the staff can run a campaign.
It is important that they see their role as being largely to educate, assist and involve their volunteers. But it is not fair to the staff to expect them to do our job.
One of the great advantages of the United Way is that it offers to business and labour leaders the opportunity to help their community by doing what they do best – organising and motivating.
Labour and business people are not by and large trained social workers but they can still participate in this way. They must, however, be recognised by the community for what they do. Further, we must broaden the base. How often have we all commented that we see the same old faces in every voluntary movement in our community. It is essential that we ask more people to get involved. We must also go after the younger executives rather than we old retreads.
It is important within your campaigns for the 80’s that you get a strong campaign advisory council to survey the communities and make sure that we are getting the new, younger leaders involved so that they can work up through the organisations and become the campaign leaders for the late 80’s and 90’s.
YOUTH KEEPS US YOUNG
I have not seen any recent surveys, but I know when I was Campaign Chairman in Ottawa my greatest concern was that most of the support for the United Way came from people over thirty. This is hardly surprising because, of course, young families getting started have got major financial commitments, but we must avoid being in the position of Chiang Kai-shek’s army on Taiwan waiting for years to invade China – they were there in numbers but were getting less effective with every passing year!
In British Columbia we have had a great deal of success in getting youth involved through the universities. The enthusiasm of these groups is infectious. But this is a programme that we must concentrate on as these people are the donors and the community leaders of the future.
I have already emphasised the need for re-examining our agency portfolio. I believe that one way of keeping the United Way young is to recognise the trend in society toward Donor Option. The public may accept a package of agencies put together by volunteers in the community, but many wish to either opt out of donations to certain agencies or may wish to give only to some. For years the United Way has been concerned about this, but in fact if we were more flexible we would stand a much better chance of retaining such diverse groups as Catholic charities and Planned Parenthood. We should recognise a trend in some cities in the United States for the United Way to become the community fund raising body for any accredited cause, and should re-examine the concept of the ‘take it or leave it’ package.
There are many things we can do to keep the United Way young and vibrant. The idea of the One Campaign efficiently run on behalf of all worthwhile causes is as valid as it ever was. But we must face the challenges of the eighties by using our greatest traditional strength – the flexibility to meet changing conditions.
Good luck with your campaigns for the Eighties.
Back to Section K Index or just read on
TORONTO. SEPTEMBER, 1986
Welcome to the United Way’s Annual General Meeting. In typical fashion we run these with a maximum of information and a minimum of formality.
This is also a celebration of the United Way’s 40th Anniversary of providing service to the people of the Greater Toronto Area. Gord Martineau will host these proceedings immediately following the necessary formalities.
I very much appreciate the hosting of this event by The Bay. I am reminded that while we are proud of having been here since 1956, The Bay has been around since 1670, so this is certainly an appropriate place to hold a celebration of long service!
The meeting is now officially called to order and I am pleased to now introduce Anne Golden, a person of whom I am sure you must of read something about over the past year.
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – UNITED WAY AGM
The nice thing about Annual General Meetings is that it gives the Chair the opportunity to tell you what a wonderful job he or she has done and to remind you that during the term of office the organization has of course met all of its’ objectives. This can be done quite safely because no one will remember what was promised in any case. With that in mind, I am pleased to assure you that during the passed two years we did accomplish a number of things, but I am also pleased to report that the Incoming Chair will not be short of challenges that we have left for him.
A few of the highlights would be:
â€¢ Some outstanding campaign results. Since my campaign in 1991, a succession of excellent campaign chairs including Courtney Pratt, Bill Etherington, Al Flood, John Cassaday and now Reay Mackay have increased the amount raised for the benefit of the community from some $43,000,000 to well over $50,000,000. This has been done during a very difficult economic period.
During the last couple of years, we have solidly recognized that Donor Choice is no longer a simple add-on to the campaign, but is now a significant part of our program. In these challenging days for fund-raising by all registered charities in Canada, the United Way now offers the capability of the United Way campaign, so that our Donors can contribute to any such charity in Canada.
â€¢ Like a professionally managed mutual fund, we are also improving the promotion of what we now refer to as the Community Fund as that group of social service agencies that form the core of what the United Way believes is the most important group of charities in the country. We have sometimes referred to this as being our President’s Choice, i.e. we will put anyone’s product on our shelves allowing the Donor to choose what he or she wants, but we will promote our brand as being very worthy of the highest level of support.
We introduced a major program to assist our agencies in dealing effectively with the changes resulting from the alternation in Government support for the social service area, as well as, introducing an emergency fund to assist those particularly disadvantaged over the last winter. Action Grants armed at helping people with a hand up, not a hand out.
â€¢ We are in the final stages of re-negotiating an expanded Areawide campaign to include many more organizations that operate in our sister United Ways’ regions in the Greater Toronto Area. We hope this type of new agreement will be the harbinger of even greater cooperation amongst the municipalities of the GTA.
â€¢ We launched the highly successful Tomorrow Fund to ensure that support for a better community will be available in the years to come for the benefit of our children and their children. Nearly 17 million.
â€¢ We have accomplished all of this while reducing the ratio of fund-raising costs to revenue.
But this is only interim progress. The United Way is a very dynamic organization, and yesterday’s solutions may not meet tomorrow’s needs. I know your new chair-elect, who will be introduced in a moment, will provide the dynamic leadership necessary to carry on this process of developing innovative ways to ensure the United Way is the Way To Help The Most.
It is now my pleasure to ask Bahadur Madhani to, for the final time, present his Treasurer’s Report.
INTRODUCING THE INCOMING CHAIR – UNITED WAY AGM
Ted, thank you for another example of both your personal generosity and that of Rogers Communications. The organization is already acknowledged as a ‘Caring Company’, as part of the Imagine Campaign. Personally, I cannot think an acknowledgment that I appreciate more than what you have done today. I also know the people of Toronto will greatly appreciate your generosity.
Ted and I work on the 64th Floor of Scotia Plaza. From there one gets a very unique view of our community. When you look down on people from that height they seem very small. It is very easy to assume therefore that their problems are also very small. One of the great benefits the United Way provides to business people such as myself is that it provides an opportunity to learn more about people as they really are rather than how they appear from a great height.
I should be thanking you for the opportunity that the United Way has provided to me to do something very positive for our community.
I should add that whatever has been accomplished could only have been done with:
â€¢ A first-class Board. The Boards I have worked with at the United Way are amongst the best I have every worked with in any context.
â€¢ An excellent staff that carried on without a hitch during the time when we provided Anne Golden to the GTA Task Force. This is a testimony to the staff that Anne has put together over the years.
â€¢ Some 80,000 dedicated volunteers who work in the Fund-raising and Agency operations.
â€¢ Finally, a Caring Community. The United Nations has regularly declared Toronto one of the best cities in the world in which to live.
Much of this is because we do live in a community that really does care.
It is now my honour to turn the Chair over to Bahadur Madhani. As you know, he has:
â€¢ Served the United Way in many capacities over a number of years including his most recent position as your Treasurer.
â€¢ Been a tireless supporter through many innovative events, such as the Ishmali Run. I also count him amongst my very best friends. The United Way will be in very good hands with Bahadur as Chair.