United Way exceeds annual campaign goal

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 5, 2009

NATCHEZ — The United Way has exceeded its campaign goal and then some.

When the campaign kicked off in August, the United Way had a goal of raising $150,000.

That goal would be the organization’s budget for the year used to support local agencies.

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So far, the campaign has raised $151,581.

“I feel confident that we’re going to get to at least $160,000 or above,” United Way Director Marsha Colson said.

Colson said the campaign, which typically ends somewhere around the end of the year, has been extended through January.

“We figured from the beginning that we’d have to extend it a little bit,” she said.

With the struggling economy, Colson said she realizes this has been a difficult year to give.

“This has been a tougher year than most for fundraising,” she said.

Also, she said several companies in the area have not finished their campaigns and other companies have only recently begun theirs.

Colson said, as of late, more money has been rolling in.

Toward the end of November, the United Way was at 55 percent of its goal.

“As it got close to Nov. 30, I was sweating it,” Colson said.

But with some larger local companies not reporting, the amount was not entirely actual, she said.

The holiday seasons also brought in some extra money, Colson said, because people tend to be more generous around Christmas time.

While Colson said the goal will continue to be exceeded, it will not meet the actual amount of money needed by the agencies.

Eighteen agencies applied for funds and the total request is $192,000.

Colson said an allocation committee will disperse the campaign funds among the agencies, which will be a difficult task since the United Way cannot meet each request exactly.

“It’s not unusual that you can’t fully fund an agency’s request,” Colson said.

And while this year’s campaign has been successful, Colson said it’s been somewhat trial by fire for her since this is her first year as United Way director.

“Next year I’ll know better,” Colson said.

And she’s already started preparing for next year.

“We’ve built groundwork for a much better campaign next year,” she said.