NOTE: This story, “Tulsa Area United Way Misses Annual Goal” by Tim Stanley originally appeared on the front page of the Nov. 16 Tulsa World.
After missing their fall campaign goal by $1.2 million, Tulsa Area United Way officials said they are not done yet and are looking at other ways to make up the shortfall.
The annual fundraising campaign was scheduled to end Tuesday. As of Monday, the total was about 5% shy of the goal of $25,913,704, officials said.
The annual UNITE end-of-campaign celebration had been scheduled for Tuesday at USA BMX headquarters, but it was canceled in order to continue fundraising, the organization said. UNITE traditionally signals the end of campaign fundraising.
Alison Anthony, Tulsa Area United Way president and CEO, said the tough economic times have hurt both corporate and individual donations this year.
“We are so grateful for the 95% that we have raised, though, and we are going to keep going,” she said.
Despite the shortfall, Anthony said the campaign does not regret its decision to raise the goal this year.
The target was upped by 2% over last year’s, she said, due to increased demands on member nonprofits during difficult times.
“We said, ‘You know what? If we don’t set it, we won’t hit it.’ And so we went ahead and set that 2% increase. We challenged ourselves and the community, and we haven’t quite gotten there yet.”
A shortfall could affect 145 nonprofit programs, community groups and innovation grants across the metropolitan area, including in Tulsa, Creek, Rogers, Okmulgee, Osage and Wagoner counties.
Anthony said the organization is still determined to meet the goal.
“We may end up having to put in additional funds of our own in order to minimize the impact to the agencies,” she said. “We’re going to look at every strategy to keep our finances strong and their finances strong.”
Anthony said donations from companies and individuals were down this year.
“We had some companies come in who ran amazing campaigns, like Williams. They blew past their goal. It was incredible. Others have struggled. It’s a tough, tough year.”
As for individual donations, “about 55% of our annual fundraising comes from individual donors. They’re still giving, but they’re giving a little less. I think it’s because of the uncertainty in so many parts of the economy. They’re just nervous.”
On the bright side, she added, schools and nonprofits, which almost always hit their goal, did so again this year, with some even surpassing their goals.
“It takes all of us working together,” Anthony said. “There’s no angel investor swooping in.”
For more information related to this article “Tulsa Area United Way Misses Annual Goal” or to donate, go to tauw.org.