Case Study: United Way of the Bay Area Uniting Against Poverty


Building a community campaign that reaches out to grassroots and corporate supporters

The United Way of the Bay Area (UWBA) defined a mission that would challenge the status quo on poverty. In the Bay Area, approximately 250,000 people live below the poverty line, mostly working poor struggling to make ends meet. Launched in 2010, the United Way campaign has concentrated on developing and supporting strategies and programs to assist working families in moving out of poverty. The key to the success of these efforts is enlisting community support region-wide – encouraging volunteer participation, coordinated efforts by organizations and support from high-net-worth individuals, as well as support from corporations, all targeting specific programs that give people access to the resources and tools they need.


The key to these programs was doing what worked – looking at measurable results that changed people’s lives.


RadiantBrands has actively supported this effort as part of the Marketing Advisory Council for UWBA and by developing a series of campaigns to inform and encourage engagement and support.

As part of this work, RadiantBrands developed a detailed marketing plan and a series of branding initiatives, including “Make It Be,” a web and social media-based campaign that invited partners and community members to make commitments to their community through volunteering and participation. The campaign brought in thousands of participants who connected through Facebook and the Make It Be website, and offered their email addresses for follow up on future efforts and needs of United Way. This grassroots approach was intended to shift perceptions of United Way from something you donate to without knowing the outcome, to being an organization you are part of and can contribute directly to through personal efforts.


With well over 10,000 participants connected through Facebook through the Make it Be program, UWBA volunteers impacted their local communities.


Following this campaign, Radiant developed a bus card ad series that appeared on S.F. Muni and A.C. Transit buses. The campaign focus was “Real People, Real Results.” Each ad featured a photo of real people who benefit from programs developed by United Way, driving home the message that UWBA achieves real results and makes a difference in our communities.

Radiant also worked on positioning and strategy to engage corporate participants and donors at a high level, emphasizing their critical role in reducing poverty and building stronger communities in the Bay Area.


Scope of Work

• Individual interviews
• Market research
• Naming of campaigns
• Brand design and creative
• Website and social media elements
• Advertising