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Live United: New United Way fundraising campaign started this month

Live United by Erin Haag

I’m sure that you can imagine that the 2020 campaign did not do very well. Many corporations chose not to do a workplace campaign because they felt their employees could not handle one more stressor. Others chose to delay their campaign until January/February of 2021 and did not have their usual success.

Erin Haag

Of course it’s understandable — in 2020 we were all in survival mode. There was no right or wrong answer; it was what it was. Survival mode or not though, workplace campaigns account for 62% of our annual campaign, so that was a hard hit for us and for our partner agencies.

In response, we launched the Ready to LIVE United fundraising campaign on June 1. Our goal is to raise $50,000 by July 18, in time to allocate out to programs this year. This is in response to our 2020 partner agencies, who expressed that they were most worried about the third and fourth quarter of 2021 for cash flow.

There’s a common misconception that there was an excess of state and federal funds available for nonprofits. The opposite is true — many of our local nonprofits were not eligible for these funds for one reason or another. Additionally, many of our larger corporations that provided grant funding did not do a grant cycle, choosing to divert money into highly competitive disaster relief funds.

Many of my dear readers participate in the residential campaign, where we mail pledge cards to your home. Those donors typically give once a year. So you might think this summertime campaign is not for you. But would you consider donating early this year? That’s beneficial to us, so we can plan and estimate how much we’ll have available for grant cycles.

Or, maybe you’ve got a business and have never done a workplace campaign? Maybe your workplace chose not to do a campaign in 2020. Ask your workplace about it! Businesses could do a campaign with payroll deductions starting July 1 and roll it into 2022. Thirteen paychecks isn’t as much as 26 paychecks, but it all matters — and it all adds up. Or maybe you don’t do the payroll deduction parts, but you host a companywide event. Nacho bars are popular, and what a great way to celebrate summer. Can you tell I have ideas? Give me a call, and I’ll gladly have a conversation with you about how we can customize a campaign for you — virtually, in-person or a combination.

April Jeppson, who writes a Saturday column, is a work colleague and a friend. This morning, I stood at the Senior Center, watching her try to untangle the computer cords to plug it in. I told her, “This is making me realize how much a control freak I am because I just want to shove you out of the way and do it myself.” She laughed and said, “You’re an alpha.” I was behind on my Tribune reading, so I didn’t get it. I just read her last column and laughed out loud. So if you haven’t read it, go back and do so. It’s a good one. Yes, April, I’m an alpha too. I hope I’m fun, even if I can’t handle neon colors like you can.

In all of our alphaness, April and I decided to move up Day of Action. We’re hosting it at the Senior Center on June 7. It’s located at the Skyline Mall at 1739 W. Main St., Albert Lea.

Yes, we know it’s this Monday, but we promise we can make it work. We’re inviting volunteers to come and help us clean the Senior Center, do a little painting, dusting, prepping bulletin boards and organizing.

If you really want to get your hands dirty, we might send you over to the Albert Lea Family Y to spread some mulch. Either way, we’ll feed you carrot cake muffins. We’ll be there at 9 a.m. until about mid-afternoon.

If you’re wondering how my children are doing, as the person who called the other day to ask, they’ll be making a cameo appearance that day. 

I’ll forward the office phone to my cell phone that day, so if you have questions, give the UWFC number a call at 507-373-8670. Are you Ready to LIVE UNITED with me?

Erin Haag is the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County.