Social agencies will face a financial crunch unless community generosity increases dramatically.
The United Way has only raised $93,121 of its $300,000 campaign goal with a month left to go, and that may mean less money to give 27 non-profit organizations within the North Okanagan region.
“Agencies seeing an increase in demand may have to make tough decisions about the services they provide,” said Linda Yule, United Way executive director.
Among the groups supported by United Way are Compassionate Friends of Vernon, the Enderby Family Resource Centre, the Kindale Development Association, the Falkland Boys and Girls Club, the Upper Room Mission, the White Valley Community Resource Centre, St. John Ambulance and the North Okanagan-Shuswap Brain Injury Society.
The fundraising campaign began in September and Yule defends the $300,000 target.
“It’s not a pie-in-the-sky figure. It’s conservative compared to what we’re asked for by the agencies,” she said.
“Looking at the population of the region, $300,000 should be attainable.”
The biggest impact on this year’s campaign has been individual donations only being 30 per cent of what normally occurs.
“Things are tight (economically) out there and some people wait until December to do their annual donations,” said Yule of the possible reasons for the current trend.
There may also be a need to increase the public’s understanding of United Way and the services provided by local non-profits.
“We may have to do some brochure mail-drops to make the community more aware,” said Yule.
Anyone wanting to donate to the United Way can call 250-549-1346, go to www.unitedwaynocs.com or drop by the office at 3304 30th Ave. in Vernon.
The other key component of the fundraiser is payroll donations from employees at local businesses.
Yule is hopeful the public will recognize the importance of United Way and the goal can be achieved by Dec. 31.
“We are making a real difference in the community. There aren’t people living on the street, we’re helping kids go to school and we’re keeping our seniors strong and active,” she said.