A down economy has put a damper on the United Way of Douglas County’s fundraising efforts this year.
With the organization’s major fundraising drive wrapping up, the chapter is behind $100,000 from where it historically is at this point in the campaign, President and CEO Erika Dvorske said.
In particular, United Way’s fundraising program that reached out to local businesses suffered this fall simply because employers had fewer employees than in previous years.
“Our campaign is contingent on lots of people doing little bits,” Dvorske said. “And that presents a challenge.”
The overall campaign has seen some successes as it works to raise $1.775 million.
Fifty-five percent of donors classified as Leadership givers, or those donating more than $750 a year, have increased their contributions. And the campaign has added more than 650 new donors, beating the organization’s goal of gathering 500 first-time contributors.
“So many wonderful, generous people have already stepped up, and we want to celebrate that, but we need more,” Dvorske said.
The United Way leaders are hoping that end-of-year contributions will help them reach their goal. During the holiday season, the organization is asking people to make a gift to the United Way in honor or memory of someone they care about.
“We are reaching out to people during the next couple of weeks, communicating with folks we haven’t heard from in hopes that we can engage them and invite them to contribute something,” Dvorske said.
If the campaign comes up short, Dvorske said the board has discussed cutting back on the community impact grants it gives out each year. Current grants won’t be affected, but new ones would be curtailed.
Money raised during the United Way’s campaign goes to 24 community agencies serving 60,000 residents, the United Way’s Roger Hill Volunteer Center and the United Way Center for Human Services. In March, the United Way allocates the campaign funds to the local agencies.