As the United Way is heads into the home stretch of its 2010-11 fundraising year, the organization is projecting to be somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 below their projected goal.
David English, executive director of the United Way of Putnam County, said that most of what is missing is smaller personal donations. English said this is the second year that donations from individuals have gotten smaller.
English said the organization had $175,000 as their goal for the fundraising drive ending at the end of February, and is now projecting to bring in closer to $150,000- $155,000.
"The number of individual donors hasn't really changed," English said. "What has changed is somebody that gave $100 gave $50. Someone that gave $50 gave $25. That was a year ago. This year what I'm seeing is the people that gave $50 a year ago are now giving $25."
Along with those reductions, English said some people who gave smaller donations aren't able to give at all this year.
"What I'm really missing are the $5, $10 and $15 dollar donations," he said. "They don't sound like much, but we respect every dollar that we get, and those add up."
English said the United Way helps to fund 15 agencies throughout the county.
Part of what makes the funding the United Way provides unique is that the funding it provides is unrestricted.
English said many of the grants that organizations like the American Red Cross and Johnson-Nichols Health Clinic use for funding have to be used in specific ways.
"The United Way is unique in that we can provide unrestricted funds, which basically can be used for operations," English said.
Since most of the grant money is tied to specific programs, the loss of funding from United Way, English said, may result in their partner programs likely looking at staff cuts as a way to absorb the loss in funds.
"These are non-profit agencies but they hire people," English said. "What happens (with a shortfall) is, they cut staff.
"These are Putnam County people that are employed by these organizations, and they lose their job," English continued. "Last year, because we couldn't fund people at the level we wanted to, there were some cuts that were made, and they were basically made staff-wise."
English said the programs involved might see a drop in the services they provide as people are asked to absorb more responsibilities.
"They're then put in the situation that we've all seen, where you're asked to do more with less," English said.
He said the other part of that effect is that someone loses a job.
"There's definite economic impact, because now we have another Putnam County person who is not employed and therefore is not contributing to the economy," English said. That job may have been what kept that family afloat."
Besides losing donations from individuals, English said that the problems with the automotive industry have been difficult for the United Way.
"We're heavily dependent on the auto industry," English said. "We had difficulty getting those because of the way the auto industry is. Heartland (Automotive LLC) has always been a very good supporter of us, but they weren't sure they were going to be able to support us last year.
"Right at the end of the year, they came through with a nice $3,000 corporate check," English continued. "We're hoping to see that again."
Despite the difficulty with the auto industry, English said that he has more corporate accounts this year than last year, though the individual donations may be smaller.
This has helped to offset some of the losses from individual donations.
Donations to the United Way of Putnam County may be sent to 2 S. Jackson T., P.O. Box 35, Greencastle, IN 46135.