Building Trust For United Way of Central Ohio


Our data-informed Trust Assessment reveals actionable steps to build brand trust.  

United Way of Central Ohio is an Smith client. The century-old nonprofit organization has experienced ebbs and flows as the nonprofit landscape has changed. Digital has democratized philanthropic giving, making it possible for every 501c3 and passionate advocate to reach the masses. So it’s more important than ever before for United Way of Central Ohio to be present, relevant, and trusted. 

Our journey started with a Trust Assessment, an in-depth assessment of United Way’s trust signals compared to three competitors. The results revealed some short-term actionable steps, like responding to ratings and reviews, that could significantly impact building trust. It also laid out a long-term public relations play intended to amplify the organization’s key focus areas, how their work directly affects the community, and why it is uniquely qualified to lead community impact efforts.   

The allure of the Trust Assessment is that it breaks down silos, revealing what the consumer sees online. Sometimes what brands consider to be damaging or strengthening content, like a news article, may not even show up in a branded search result. Other content, such as a negative review on Google My Business, could have damaging effects for years to come. It’s essential for leaders to know and understand what branded searches reveal about their brands and then take action in a strategic and integrated way, making trust-building an actionable strategy — not just an accidental result. 

For the last year, Smith has used the Trust Assessment to take action on key areas of influence for United Way of Central Ohio: media relations and thought leadership. Compared to competitors, the organization’s branded search results reveal a path of confidence. Every trust signal is aligned, revealing what United Way of Central Ohio stands for, elevating the strength of its leadership, celebrating its unified partner network, and engaging with the community.

Trust-Building Is An Ongoing Pursuit

While the Trust Assessment and strategic action plan benefit United Way of Central Ohio, the work is never finished. Trust-building is an ongoing effort requiring ongoing monitoring and action. Columbus Business School Professor John Whitney once said, “Mistrust doubles the cost of doing business.” 

Building trust is a sound investment. Get started by requesting a Trust Assessment for your brand.