United Way Reaching For Goal
Oskaloosa, Iowa – Helping others to help meet the needs of those in a community is a focus of the United Way.
Amy Langdon, Executive Director for Mahaska County United Way, explained that the majority of their fundraising happens during campaign season, which lasts only a few months. “It’s a time when we can really have a presence in the community, be out in all the workplaces, spreading the word about what we and our agencies are doing in Mahaska County.”
Businesses in Mahaska County have been very generous to those in the community, and as times change, so do those businesses. With that in mind, a few of those companies have changed, and in turn, the amount so far raised, which is approximately $350,000. The goal for this year is $440,000.
Langdon explained how the local United Way is impacted. “We knew pretty early on that a few large donors were going to be an issue. It’s hard because there’s not a whole lot you can do to mitigate that loss, other than work extra hard on finding new donors or encouraging past donors. I think the health care changes are also having a big impact. We’ve heard from several sources that some healthcare costs were going up so more money is being taken out of their paychecks for healthcare. So when you’re seeing a couple hundred less dollars in your paycheck every month, it can be hard to donate to the United Way and other nonprofits, which is understandable.”
“I think when we talk about hundreds of thousands of dollars, the average donor can feel like that’s too great a number to have an impact on. But the heart of what makes United Way’s work are the people who give $1 a week out of their paycheck or send us a check for $20. Sure, some local businesses give us HUGE dollars and we are so grateful for that, but I count our success as when more and more people have a role in donating. And if you can’t give financially, be a voice for the United Way,” said Langdon. But those individuals at local businesses have been stepping up to the plate on an individual basis. Individuals are making the effort to donate from their checks on a weekly basis by having a deduction from their pay.
But for the future, Langdon explained that they are “working hard to reach out to people we never have before, companies that have never hosted United Way campaigns. We’ve planted a lot of seeds that I’m really proud of, but,unfortunately, we may not see the fruit of that labor ’til next year or the year after.”
Langdon took the time to praise all of the individuals that have stepped up and given even more this year. “It’d be a disservice to those very generous people to talk about this year’s campaign in a negative way. Our agencies are doing amazing things in our community, hundreds of people are supporting them, asking nothing in return. What can be negative about that?”
The fundraising campaign season is nearly over, but there is still time to help. You can visit http://www.unitedwaymahaska.org/ to donate or learn more.