Success Story: United Way of Greater Knoxville + Scripps Networks

The positive impact of corporate and nonprofit partnerships has never been more significant. More than ever, people are looking to companies and nonprofits to affect positive social change. According to the 2017 Cone CSR Report, 3 out of 5 U.S. citizens are hopeful that businesses will take the lead in positively altering the current state of societal and environmental circumstances.

Consumers, concerned citizens, and employees want to know what companies stand for – and many corporations are answering this question by partnering with nonprofits that best reflect their beliefs and values. Here’s how Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI) and United Way of Greater Knoxville joined forces in a dynamic partnership that made a positive impact in underserved communities throughout Knoxville, Tennessee.

Finding the right partner

United Way of Greater Knoxville approached Scripps Networks in 2009 about the possibility of combining community efforts. It was a natural fit with both organizations headquartered in Knoxville and similar missions aimed at improving their surrounding community. Scripps and United Way deepened their partnership in 2017 when Scripps’ Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO served as United Way of Greater Knoxville’s campaign chair.

Finding the right fundraiser

It is not always easy to find fundraising solutions that will resonate with the most employees and communities. However, the 2017 United Way/SNI campaign seemed to be a no-brainer. SNI knew it had unique items and experiences to donate, including a tiny house as featured on DIY Network, Country Music Association Festival and Getaway tickets, and a South Beach Wine & Food Festival VIP Package. Both organizations collaborated and concluded that an online auction made the most sense and would be an ideal way to raise money and community awareness.

Finding the right software

United Way of Greater Knoxville needed an auction platform that would cut down on administrative efforts, was cost effective and both easy to implement and use. After much research, Mary Stump, Resource Development Associate at United Way of Greater Knoxville, elected to go with FrontStream online auctions.

Although the organization used FrontStream online auctions in the past, Mary was new to the tool herself, noting that “as a first-time user I found uploading items and filling in item details was straight forward and easy to do.” Brewton Couch, VP of Branding and Messaging of United Way of Greater Knoxville, added, “Because of our success with this auction, we definitely see the value in FrontStream online auctions and will continue to use this tool to bring in additional revenue for our United Way.”

The impact

United Way of Greater Knoxville is transparent when it comes to their mission. “We help people” is the first thing you see when you visit their website. It’s a mission that is simply stated and demonstrated through how they invest in their community.

More specifically, they work to bring people together to create lasting change. Through initiatives like their auction with corporate partner Scripps Networks Interactive, they are making a huge impact in areas such as health, education, and financial stability. To date their auction has raised over $25,000 and is still ongoing.

Whether you're a nonprofit or a corporation, this partnership proves that when corporate social responsibility takes a front seat, all kinds of great things can happen. If you're looking for a way to bring about positive community change, take a look at what potential partnerships could be available - you may end up making even more of an impact than you thought possible.

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