United Way to announce fundraising goal on Sept. 3Written by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
United Way of Greater Toledo will announce Sept. 3 how much money it hopes to raise this year. In 2007, $14.5 million was raised.
“What we are trying to focus on yet again is small businesses,” said president and CEO Bill Kitson. “We need to reach out to more businesses to give them an opportunity to participate. We are also going to try to do a better job of reaching those people who aren’t at the workplace.
“Lots of folks have retired from companies and they stay in our community, and we don’t reach out to them and ask them to participate. They gave for 20 years when they worked at the ABC company and they suddenly stopped hearing from us.”
When donors make their pledge, they have two options. They can designate their funds to a specific program or they can leave their funds undesignated. If they choose to designate their funds to specific program, United Way provides a list of all of its partners’ programs, or they have the option of writing in their own chosen charity.
If donors do not designate their contribution it goes into the general allocation fund, which allows volunteers to direct it to programs. Last year, $8.6 million of the campaign was undesignated, and $4.4 million was designated and distributed exactly as the donors indicated on their pledge cards. United Way’s administrative cost accounted for the remaining money.
United Way of Greater Toledo serves Wood, Lucas and Ottawa counties. Some of the programs benefiting from the money raised last year include It Takes Two, United Way 2-1-1, Adelante’s Leamos Juntos (Let’s Read Together) program, Sight Center of Northwest Ohio’s Early Intervention, Teen Town, Arc of Wood County’s Healthy Lifestyles and Toledo Botanical Gardens’ Toledo GROWS.
“It would be crazy for us to say we aren’t nervous,“ Kitson said of this year’s campaign. “Of course, we are nervous. People are in very challenging financial situations. They have difficult decisions to make about the use of their money. And when they make a charitable gift, they want to make sure it is doing the most good possible.
“We are hopeful that people will understand the United Way campaign and giving to the United Way is the best way to make an impact in the community,” he said.
Kitson said United Way’s fundraising efforts are unique because of its workplace-giving program. The program allows for donations to be deducted from employees’ paychecks. The Andersons is among United Way’s success stories. Year after year, it increases its donations, he said.
“This year is an important year for our community,” Kitson said. “The economic times we face are real and serious, and the people in need truly need our help and support this year. We tend to find at United Way that in these tough times, donors are generous.”
Kitson reassures donors that none of the campaign will go to the proposed new United Way building.
“The new building is being covered from our board-designated fund. The reality is the campaign contributions pay for the old building. The longer we are in this space, the more it costs our operating budget.”
Chief Operating Officer Jane Moore said donating isn’t the only way people can help United Way. Donating time through volunteering is also an option.
Moore said the economy will affect donating, but percentage wise, people with less means give more money because “they know, they feel, they understand.”
“We are asking people for disposable income, quite frankly,” Moore said. “You can choose to buy a new VCR or you can choose to give to the United Way. I think it may impact some, but others will see it as an opportunity to give when it is really so needed.”