United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has been busy since their virtual campaign kickoff this past September, and recently announced that they have reached the 54% mark in their $1.2 million campaign goal. According to Executive Director Amy Rohler, fundraising during a pandemic has not been operations as usual. It has involved campaign presentations via Zoom, “virtual toolkits” that are accessible through their website and featured video stories from their community partners. Critical to their fundraising success so far has been the participation of their twenty-eight campaign chairs—many of whom have put in volunteer time making phone calls, emailing personal connections and even thanking customers at Wegmans when they donated at the register.
Our theme this year is “United We Rise,” said Rohler, “and we’ve definitely seen the collective efforts of our incredible team of volunteers over the last few months. If you haven’t yet made a gift to United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, now is definitely the time to do it.” Although Rohler is confident in the community’s ability to meet the goal, she is honest about the challenges of fundraising in a year when so many have seen the economic impact of COVID. “Programs that help students achieve academic success or programs that provide critical mental health services when many are struggling… they are needed now more than ever,” she added. According to Cynde Johnson, UWAYSCC Director of Marketing, this message really hits home when they do campaign presentations—whether in person or virtually.
“Our campaign this year can be considered ‘new-fashioned,’” said Johnson, “we have done a lot of innovation so that we’re able to briefly present virtually, with a few different options for our local businesses. Many people even seem to like this way better.”
UWAYSCC campaign leaders at UPMC Chautauqua, Randi Brumbaugh and Diane Franklin, were the first to use the new virtual tool and are seeing great results. “UPMC has dealt with our fair share of challenges due to COVID 19 and honestly we weren’t sure how it was going to go this year,” said Brumbaugh, “we were excited to jump in and try United Way’s new virtual campaign option and we chose our campaign to span over 8 weeks. Our employees are adapting well and engaging more and more. Employees feel good when they are able to give back and having this option available for them is truly impactful for everyone. We anticipate exceeding our goal this year, and our employees have resonated with the message of United We Rise.”
United Way has presented and educated employees, virtually or in person, at Fancher Chair, The Resource Center, M & T Bank, many local schools, UPMC Chautauqua, many City of Jamestown departments including the Jamestown Fire & Police Departments, and several departments at Chautauqua County government.
“I’m so impressed with our community’s generosity—we really do know how to roll up our sleeves and come together,” said Rohler, “I can’t tell you the number of people who have said to me that they feel compelled to really give back this year because they’ve been fortunate enough to be working during this time. I’m really proud of this community, and I know we can make it to 100% of our goal.”
For more information about United Way of Southern Chautauqua County or to schedule a campaign presentation, call 716-483-1561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate text WERISE to 91999 or donate online visiting www.uwayscc.org.