Blue Strawberry Coffee Promotion Helps Grow United Way Leadership Society

This project received a national award

This project received an Impact 13 Award from the Internet Marketing Association for strategic email marketing.

You really can make a difference for the cost of two cups of coffee. In October 2012, United Way partnered with The Blue Strawberry, a downtown Cedar Rapids coffee shop, on encouraging young donors to join United Way’s Young Leaders Society.

Donors under age 40 have to give at least $250 annually to join the society, which focuses on early-childhood initiatives.

“We identified donors under age 40 who weren’t Young Leaders, yet,” said Benjamin Hoover, United Way Donor Relations senior coordinator. “We always say: Giving what two cups of coffee would cost will already help our community. So, who better to partner with than a coffee shop.”

The Blue Strawberry decided to offer one free cup of coffee to anyone in that group. On Oct. 22, we emailed the offer and the encouragement to increase donations to the group. Several stopped by for their free cup of coffee and what I would call a good percentage from the list joined the Young Leaders Society.

“Overall, we think this initiative – which was proposed by the Young Leaders Committee – was a success, Hoover said. “Thank you to the Blue Strawberry for the partnership and to our donors.”

Mike Monnahan, owner of the Blue Strawberry Coffee Company said that “we believe supporting the United Way is important because the money stays within the community and will benefit our youth.  This program (YLS) in particular is very worthwhile and is important in the ongoing development of our younger children.”

Posted in Marketing blog

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2013/14 Committee Members


Shilo Knapp, Rockwell Collins - 2013/2014 chair

Kari Cooling, Holmes Murphy - 2013/14 vice-chair
Jenn Bleil, Van Meter
Mike Butterfield, HDR Engineering, Inc.
Amber Doyle, International Paper
Sam Hammes, TrueNorth (Joined February 2013)
Anthony Jensen Kirkwood Community College
Beth Lehman, The Gazette Company
Curtis Nelson, Transamerica (Joined Summer 2012)
Alisha Pedersen, Rockwell Collins (Joined July 2012)
Wendy Nielsen, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust - immediate past chair
Fred Rose, Morgan Stanley
Charlie Schimberg, Schimberg Co.(Joined November 2012)
Charisma Wickham, Alliant Energy. (Joined Fall 2013)
Committee member job description

Why Give to United Way?

This is a video from our August 2012 Young Leaders Society event. Some longtime donors told the crowd why they give to United Way.