Because it works
By Julie Mandrell, 2022 Program Review Chair
Why does Program Review matter? For those of us privileged enough to work on this Lubbock Area United Way initiative, it is a simple question with an answer that usually varies from person to person but inevitably circles back to the same conclusion: Because it works.
Program Review works because volunteers have an opportunity to collaborate directly with United Way Community Partners. Not only do volunteers get a transparent view into how donations translate into meaningful programs and services managed by the agencies, but they also have an opportunity to provide direct feedback on how to improve and grow those programs and services. The Program Review process leverages the diverse backgrounds and expertise of its volunteers, and it is through those unique perspectives that we have seen rewarding change come from the recommendations of our community volunteers. While the total time commitment for those who volunteer in Program Review is minimal, (only 10-12 hours!) the potential for a lasting impact is simply unmatched.
Program Review works because it connects the Community Partners to additional resources within our community. A review cycle never goes by without a new board member being recommended for an agency through an initial introduction in Program Review, a new fundraising opportunity being identified by a volunteer, or perhaps an employee referral for a vacancy gets snuck in during an agency tour. The partners work tirelessly to administer their much-needed programs within our community and the Program Review process gives them an opportunity to expand their networks and cultivate new relationships while showing the volunteers what they do best.
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Program Review works because it changes lives. I have long considered my greatest reward for volunteering in this particular area to be the opportunity to see the impact that donor dollars make in the lives of those served through United Way’s Community Partners. I continue to be amazed at the talent and creativity shown through the ideas of the volunteers in this community and the resilience and passion for helping others continually demonstrated by these agencies. Simply put, I am in awe and inspired by those who live and work in this community. And while I feel so rewarded each time I see this process work, I have come to realize that my greatest reward may be how Program Review has changed my life.
I will close the same way as those who have served in this role before me by thanking you for allowing me to serve. My life has truly been changed through Program Review: Because it works.