The United Way of McLean County has a new strategic plan to address changing giving patterns in the U.S.
Last year, the fundraising campaign brought in less than half the money raised in previous years, forcing reductions in grants to various human service agencies in Bloomington-Normal.
United Way CEO David Taylor said the drop is not just because State Farm Insurance didn't run an employee campaign. It's a national trend for companies to offer their workers a matching gift program and let them choose their own charities.
"And we have to be really cognizant of that and figure out how to connect with donors outside of the workplace. That's one of the key drivers of the first priority in the strategic plan, making it personal, local, and accessible," said Taylor.
Taylor said the United Way will also move to year-round fundraising, try to encourage monthly subscription donations, and use social media to tell the story of needs.
"For example, last year, there were 82 women, that we know about, between the ages of 18 to 22 in the community that were pregnant and ended up running away from home or were kicked out of the house as a result. Of those, 71 were turned away from services, not because they didn't qualify, but because there wasn't space," said Taylor.
The United Way of McLean County said it expects about the same level of donations as came in last year. The United Way distributed $2.1 million this year to human service agencies. That's less than half the total from the previous year. Because of the decline, the United Way allowed its member programs to reallocate and prioritize the dollars based on judgments of which programs are critical to their missions and the community's needs.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.