Less than six weeks into its 2012-2013 fundraising campaign, United Way of Scotland County has reached 30 percent of its overall goal with the help of Campbell Soup.
United Way began the campaign on Aug. 24 with its annual Day of Caring. Some 90 volunteers came out that day to spend a few hours of their time working with the local charities sponsored by United Way.
“A lot of people don’t understand United Way,” said Debbie Grant, executive director of United Way of Scotland County. “All we do is fundraise for the agencies. Our overhead is low, and over 90 percent of what we raise goes to the agencies.” The organization has also moved, and its new office can be found at 205B Lauchwood Drive in Laurinburg. Its new sign, viewable at night, was donated by Service Thread.
United Way raises funds for 19 local programs and nonprofit organizations, including the Scotland County Humane Society, In As Much, Scotland County’s Red Cross chapter, Church Community Services, and the Scotland County Literacy Council. United Way stipulates that all funds it distributes must be spend on programming rather than overhead costs.
For 2013, the agencies have requested a total of $210,000 in United Way funding, and the organization has set that figure as its fundraising goal. Since the end of August, United Way has raised a third of its goal, due in large part to a fund raiser at the Maxton Campbell Soup plant.
“This year we have a new senior director, Mike Miller, and he challenged us to really amp up our campaign and our participation,” said Dawn Whitley, chair of the Campbell Soup fund raising campaign. The plant set a goal for its employees to donate $80,000 to United Way chapters throughout the region. Last year, plant employees gave $67,000.
“We looked at the money we had raised in the past and thought that $80,000 was a stretch, but we thought we could achieve it,” said Whitley.
With contests and other incentives in place, the plant saw a huge response to the fund drive, boosting employee participation to 65 percent from 35 last year.
“We decided to take this $80,000 and make it something that people could get excited about,” said Whitley. “Our theme was United We Rock, with an 80s rock theme and we just had a lot of fun with it… This time we involved the employees just about United Way - we made it fun, we dressed up, we had a song.”
Prizes were also awarded randomly to those who had given at certain levels relative to their hourly income. Some prizes were donated from local businesses, including Angela Collard Photography and Dazzling Divas Boutique, others, like a year of premium parking at the plant, were provided by Campbell Soup itself.
Overall, Campbell’s employees raised over $100,000, with 50 percent matched by the company. Ultimately, Campbell Soup and its employees raised $66,000 for United Way of Scotland County.
“I want to encourage the other industries in Scotland County, and we don’t have as many here as we used to, but the industries all need to pull together,” Whitley said. “You can have a lot of fun and do a lot of good at the same time.”
For United Way, the road to $210,000 will still be a long one, however, and local businesses can expect to receive brochures in the coming weeks.
“It’s really early, and we’ll try real hard,” Grant said. “We’re in a down economy but we’re going to give it every shot. I feel that if people understand United Way, they won’t mind giving.”
Grant added that an easy way for many to give is to donate their “fair share,” or one hour’s wages every month for a year.
“Usually people don’t miss that, but it helps greatly,” she said.
For information or to donate, call Grant at 276-6064, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the new United Way office.