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So in 2015, United Way went through strategic planning, which was fully implemented for the first time this year, she said. United Way looked at factors affecting the decline, realized society and the workforce had changed and decided United Way must evolve with those changes.
For instance, workplaces with flexible working schedules and round-the-clock shifts meant
United Way presentations wouldn't reach all the workers, Oprzedek said. Also, many businesses have created their own "culture of giving" to establish "deeper employee engagement," she added.
Instead of running one campaign, United Way of Will County now runs many different campaigns and works directly with individual donors.
"Instead of having a campaign total, we now look at total community impact," Oprzedek said. "And that number isn't just a campaign total anymore."
United Way analyzed community-based research to identify the main needs in Will County. Oprzedek said these needs are self-sufficiency, health, safety and education. United Way also looks at how organizations collaborating with each other to meet those needs, she added.
Stepping Stones in Joliet does this well, she said.
Above, Members of a recovery support group speak to each other Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, at Stepping Stones Treatment Center in Joliet, Ill.