UWMM Infographic

Full infographic for United Way of Mid-Maine's 2016 kickoff activity. Full image description is below.

Every year for the campaign kickoff meeting, we’d have some sort of activity so attendees—board and committee members, donors, and community members—cuold better connect to the work United Way of Mid-Maine (UWMM) did and the impact we had.

After the event, the office discussed how to present what was learned in the activity so we could share it with other community members, on social media, and on the website. I offered to create the infographic.

United Way has very specific branding guidelines, so the colors and typefaces were chosen for me. I found very simple icons to represent the categories so folks could tell at a glance what category they were looking at. (Although I admit, with “health insurance” out of context under “What They Gave Up,” the toilet paper roll doesn’t make a lot of sense.)

I chose the pie chart and stacked bar graphs because they best represented the respective data I was conveying. There is a lot of information in this graphic, so I kept the layout simple so it would be easy to follow.

Image Description

United Way of Mid-Maine 2016 Community Impact: What is poverty? Activity from Campaign Kickoff Event.

To demonstrate the types of decisions people living in poverty have to make regarding their monthly expenses, we had event attendants team up in groups of four to decide how to spend a month’s income for a family living at the poverty line. Each family consisted of two adults, one six-year-old child, and one two-year-old child. How did they spend their money?

$24,300 is the Federal Poverty guideline, per year. $1,900 is household income, per month.

Percentage spent per category of totals dollars spent during activity. Housing costs (rent/mortage, taxes, insurance) 37.3%. Food (groceries, eating out) 19.7%. Utilities (electricity, heat, water, sewer, phone, trash, internet, cable) 16.8%. Transportation (fuel, maintenance, insurance, registration, taxes) 11.6%. Personal/Household expenses (health insurance, medicine, toiletries, laundry, clothing) 7.6%. Other (savings, retirement, emergency, child care, donations, school costs, entertainment) 6.2%. Diapers .8%.

Amount spent per category. Average monthly spending per “family” that participated in activity. Graph showing the amount budgeted by participants versus the average cost in mid-Maine. Housing: $700 budgeted, almost $900 average cost. Food: about $380 budgeted, $600 average cost. Utilities: just over $300 budgeted, $500 average cost. Transportation: $200 budgeted, $300 average cost. Personal/Household: around $150 budgeted, $900 average cost. Other: just over $100 budgeted, about $750 average cost. Diapers: budgeted amount too small to determine on graph, around $25 average cost.

What they gave up. Items that cost the difference between what participants spend and what the items cost. Housing: insurance, partial rent/mortgage. Food: eating out, over a week of groceries. Utilities: electricity, water, sewer, trash. Transportation: registration, taxes, partial insurance. Personal/Household: health insurance. Other: retirement/emergency/other savings, child care. Diapers: half the month’s diapers.

Data sources. Health insurance marketplace Calculator (2016)Average cost of renter’s insurance at sfgate.com. Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of food at home at four levels, US average, July 2016. Poverty guidelines, 2016. Cost of child care per Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services‘ 2016 Market Rates. Costs without specific sources are estimated from rates local to Waterville, ME, August 2016.

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