Niagara Gazette

Communities

November 21, 2013

United Way celebrates successful fundraising campaign

Niagara Gazette — The United Way of Greater Niagara celebrated another successful another successful year, announcing that it has surpassed its fundraising goal by raising $1,279,786 during its Community Care Campaign.

Volunteers and representatives from partner organizations gathered at the Shawnee Fire Hall in Sanborn for the agency's annual campaign breakfast Thursday morning.

While United Way representatives were glad to reach their goal, they also acknowledged mounting challenges for their agency, as they have decreased their fundraising goal over the last several years.

Carol Houwaart-Diez, the United Way of Greater Niagara president, said that growing financial pressures for employers, like rising healthcare costs, caused the campaign to set a lower goal after agency officials spoke with their donors and analyzed financial projections.

"We really measure our community to make sure we know what we're trying to accomplish," Houwaart-Diez said.

Houwaart-Diez also said changes in management structure at larger corporate donors - some companies now have financials processed in other states - have presented challenges for the annual fall fundraising drive. She said the agency may no longer concentrate on the 10-week push, instead setting a goal for the entire year and pushing fundraising efforts year round.

The agency may discontinue the annual breakfast, instead announcing fundraising totals at the not-for-profit's spring meetings, she added.

"A lot of times United Ways across the country no longer do a breakfast like this," Houwaart-Diez said. "They wait until the spring of the following year because all of the numbers are actually in."

Houwaart-Diez went on to say that though the campaign is over, the agency will continue to raise funds through the end of the year. She thanked United Way staff and volunteers, saying without them the agency would never have been able to reach its goal.

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