Roughly seven weeks into its annual fundraising campaign, the United Way of Chaves County has already surpassed the amount it raised at this time during last year’s campaign. The campaign, which kicked off Aug. 15, has raised 13.84 percent, or $79,579, of its total goal of $575,000. “Last year we were at about eight percent at this time and the goal was $460,000. So our goal is 25 percent higher,” Sherry Mumford, UWCC executive director, said.
First initiated in 1956, the annual fundraising campaign is going well so far this year, Perry Toles, co-chairman for the campaign, said. “This amount is ahead of where we were last year. At this time we have a little bit of residual from last year’s campaign that was chaired by Travis Hicks that we can be grateful for.” A new marketing sponsorship program was established this year, that has provided funds to help market the campaign.
“We have a community that cares. I know our community will step up. All we have to do is go out there and ask them. So that’s our goal, ask everyone we can. Touch every household, every person and ask them to [auth] help,” Mumford said, adding, “And this really helps the agencies, too, because even when they do fundraisers there are only a few of our agencies, that I can think of, who can raise the amount of monies that we give them through fundraisers.”
Schools have been some of the early donors to the campaign, according to Mumford.
“It’s going to require a lot of work from everybody because our goal is 25 percent higher than last year. So we’re going to try and find 25 percent new people who have never given before,” Toles said, adding, “This is the largest fundraising effort, bar none, in Chaves County.”
Donors have the option of allocating their money to one or more specific UW agencies, or they can donate to the United Way as a whole. Donations can be made on United Way’s website (unitedwayccnm.org) via PayPal, or in person. Around 85 percent of donors do not designate their money to a specific agency, according to Mumford. “Most people don’t designate. Most give to the campaign knowing that we are benefitting 15 different agencies,” Toles said, adding, “I think that’s good because we have agencies that play an important part in people’s lives, enhancing the quality of life, that people don’t know about because (the agencies) don’t have a staff.”
The United Way requires each of its agencies to meet certain minimums and standards. Each agency also has a board of directors that oversees their non-profit activity.
A committee, which is established each year for the allocation process, made up of United Way Board members and community members at large, decides how to disburse the money raised through the campaign. Once the campaign is over, the committee will hear presentations by the agencies. “(Agencies) bring information to the allocation process and we review how many clients they are serving, what is the cost per client, and then they make a recommendation to the committee that allocates the funds,” Toles said. The committee will then decide how the fundraising money will be allocated that year. All the funds awarded to the different agencies go fully to their respective programs.
The blackout period for the campaign, the time when agencies are supposed to stop competing in fundraising, is Nov 15. “Lots of times the campaign goes to the end of the year. Sometimes it carries over because there’s always a business that won’t be able to do its campaign until December or January,” Mumford said. United Way will have its annual meeting in January or February, and that’s when the final total will be announced.
Mumford said much of the campaign’s success is due to Toles and his wife Sherri, campaign co-chairman, who are both well known in the community. “They’re trusted, they’re respected. So we’re getting a lot of volunteers because they trust and know Perry and Sherri. It’s really helping our campaign, so we’re really glad they’re lending their name and their time to help our community,” Munford said.
“We were born here in Roswell. Our kids are growing up here. This is our community. We want to help take care of our community. I believe if we communicate the message of what United Way does through the member agencies people will want to step up. And every little bit helps. I want everybody just to give a little bit,” Toles said.
Those wishing to get involved in the campaign by volunteering should call 622-4150.