The United Way has not kicked off its official campaign year yet, but the philanthropic group that gives unrestricted funds to more than a dozen county groups plans to be able to help the county even more with a new fundraising method and organization.
In the past several years, executive director David English handled the majority of outreach and fundraising efforts because of the constant shifting and uncertainty in the chairman position.
Now, English said, the chair has become the Campaign Committee, headed by two chairs. Different members of the committee will focus on particular areas and industries to look for volunteers and help for United Way.
The chairs, Dave Bohmer and Marcia McKelligan, are DePauw University employees, signifying that the United Way has made its partnership with the university stronger in the last year. The committee is comprised of members in the community, not all of them United Way board members, that will focus on different areas of the community, such as realtor associations, lawyers, doctors, small businesses and more.
English will continue to focus on corporate donations and individual donations, as well as be involved in other projects. He believes the new method will help make all United Way efforts more effective and make the connections each representative builds more meaningful.
"If you're going to ask people for the money, you need face-to-face contact," English said.
English said he believes the new fundraising methods will help raise more money for the United Way's projects, and help the county overall.
"We support 15 major agencies. They're non-profit, but they hire people," English said, elaborating that if the unrestricted funds the United Way gives out are reduced, these county agencies are forced to cut staff. "When they lose their job, it's an economic impact on our community."
The method would also help United Way reach its new goal. Despite being just short of their previous goal the past two years, which was $175,000, this year the goal has been raised to $180,000 in total amount raised. But English stresses that the goal is secondary to how the United Way helps the community and county.
"It's not about reaching a goal, it's about fulfilling the need," English said.