United Way campaign extended

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 18, 2009

NATCHEZ — With 70 percent of its $175,000 target met, United Way Director Marsha Colson said she’s uncertain, but hopeful, that her organization will reach its goal.

“It’s really hard to tell at this point,” Colson said. “Even though the cut off (for the campaign) was supposed to be November, last year we found that we had to stretch it into December and January.”

Colson said this year’s campaign will be extended because there are companies still collecting into the new year.

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“I know of at least one company whose campaign won’t be done until January,” Colson said.

This year, Colson said she’s categorized the work of the campaign into two categories — the positive news and the not-so-good news.

One of the set backs that falls within Colson’s not-so-good category stems from the economic recession and has affected more than just this year’s campaign.

Colson said she has seen the effects of the economy affecting some of her campaigns for the past two years.

“Last year was a hard economical year,” Colson said. “I do think we had some major contributors who may have a harder time making their goal this year.

“A huge percentage of our campaign’s income comes from pledges from payroll deductions.”

Colson said payroll deductions are terminated when people lose their jobs and are often times canceled when a donor’s finances get tight and other payment obligations must be met

“We know it will be harder for some people to give,” Colson said.

But Colson said even with economical setbacks for some United Way donors, many of the campaigns have reached or are close to reaching their goals.

“We have had several campaigns that are very close to (reaching their goals) and one that did far better than it did last year,” Colson said.

Colson also said she has noticed more new donors this year.

“The encouraging thing is there are people giving this year that haven’t given recently, and those who gave (whether it’s a company or an individual) gave more this year than they did last year,” Colson said.

Unexpected funds from individuals and companies — whether the donations are for hundreds of dollars or $50 — help the United Way in reaching its campaign goal.

“I welcome every dollar and every donation. We have a lot of needs on our minds, but once we give to a charity organization, we see the value of it and we continue to do it as long as we can,” Colson said. “Having a first gift come in is a success.

“(Every donation) shows the goodness and the caring of people in this area.

Donations to the United Way can be made by visiting the organization’s Web site at www.unitedwaymisslou.org

Monetary donations can be sent to the United Way office at PO Box 1466, Natchez, MS 39121.