HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - United Way of Madison County got it's 2012 community campaign going today with a luncheon. Happy volunteers, and supporters on hand to get a little inspiration. They'll begin their effort, knowing that last year's fund-raising fell a half million dollars short. "With the current state of the economy, and with the state of federal cutbacks, I don't know that we've had a year that's more important than this year for every single non-profit, and social service that's out there," says Wendy Kirk, the agency's interim President.
The sobering fact is, that United Way needs to raise its campaign donations by 13% a year for the next three years, just to get back to where it was in 2007. That's pressure, but that's not the only pressure. "We have more partners applying for funds than we ever have in the past, so we need more funds to go around," says Nan Stuart, the 2012 Campaign Chair.
To get more donations United Way of Madison County will be changing campaign tactics a bit. New groups of individuals will be targeted. There will be a renewed push to get individual companies involved, and there will be the constant effort to explain exactly what United Way does in the community.
Something else that needs to happen, no horrific natural disaster like the tornadoes that devastated north Alabama in 2011. United Way of Madison County spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on storm relief, and that compounded the problem of the funding shortfall.
The general campaign starts with some good news. The Pace Setter Campaign has already taken place, and donations from those participating companies are up over last year. "I do feel this is going to be a better year than last year. It needs to be," says Nan Stuart. The 2012 Campaign runs through the end of the year.