The United Way campaign is taking a huge financial hit this year due to COVID-19. The Prairieland United Way is seeing a dip in their campaign funding because of a lack of in-person events and in-person employees.
Karen Walker says that due to current mitigations, Prairieland is having to innovate in ways never before to keep up campaign contributions without event and in-person information sessions with employers throughout the area: “Last year we had several events including one of our newest ones which went over very well. The Prices United event which we had hoped to host again this year but with it, our color run, our trivia night, our drive through breakfast, all of those things. We had over, there was over $15,000 that we had generated through those events that we aren’t able to do this year, so that has certainly had an impact on us. Then again, with employee campaigns a lot of what we rely on is not being able to have in-person meetings. You know, we aren’t able to go out and visit the businesses as we would in years past, so we had to. A lot of the businesses are working remotely, so they didn’t even have the access to the employees that they typically would have in a normal campaign year. Certainly, things are different this year.”
Walker said last week that the campaign was currently at 63% away from their goal of $465,000. Walker says that is slightly down compared to year’s past, but will still be on pace to reach the end of the intended goal. Walker says they hope to receive the majority of the goal’s funding before the end of the previous calendar year. Walker says the employer campaign has actually seen an increase in giving with some business: “So we’ve had some businesses that have actually increased. They have been able to bring in more than they did a year ago which has been fantastic. Really excited to see that, but some of the bigger ones you know unfortunately have just not been able to give the support that they have in years past, and I’m sure there’s a variety of reasons. Certainly understandable. You know times are different for everybody. Those who are working still might be struggling in areas, so we just certainly appreciate any support we get.”
Walker says there are still several ways to make a donation through multiple outlets of communication either through the internet or postal mail.
Prairieland has also set up their first pre-allocation informational meeting. There is a meeting for IL 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations in Morgan, Scott, Cass, and northern Greene counties who are interested in applying for funding. The meeting is set up for Thursday, January 21st at 9AM.
Walker says that the meeting will be held virtually this year: “Once we know how much money we’ll have raised, we’ll start working on how that is going to be given out, so that pre-allocation meeting happens in January. Normally, we meet in-person. This year we know we’re not going to be able to do that or don’t feel like we should do that, so it will be a virtual meeting. We just want to give advance notice to all of our nonprofits in our four county area, so we want to invite any nonprofits that are interested in asking for funds to come and attend that meeting. They just need to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and then I will get that person the agency connected with the information to get into that virtual meeting.”
The campaign ends on February 28th with allocations to nonprofits beginning in March.