Union Capital Boston (UCB) founder Eric Leslie had ideas about how to incent his community to participate in local education, housing, and political gatherings. But feedback from local community members upended his plans. Leslie had suggested providing community members with items like textbooks and exercise equipment as incentives, but input from Wilbur Brown and other Boston residents led UCB instead to provide Visa gift cards in exchange for doing volunteer activities. The feedback also prompted UCB to begin hosting networking nights for members.
“Sometimes what people really need is cash,” says Brown, who is now one of UCB’s Network Leaders—individuals who organize to address community concerns and help members access resources and achieve goals. “All the best intentions in the world can come to this community, but if you don’t know the culture, you’ll miss the mark.”
This video is part of a multimedia series that was produced for Stanford Social Innovation Review by Milway Media with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
In this multimedia series, sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, voices from the social sector will offer tactics, tools, and advice gleaned from the grassroots to encourage nonprofits and foundations to make listening to their constituents—and acting on what they hear—a smart norm for any organization committed to improvement.
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