Money isn’t everything but it’s way ahead of whatever is in second place. My Father.
In our book “The Story of Kennett” Joan Holliday and I documented some red flags that could get in the way of Kennett achieving its potential. One of them was Red Flag #2 where we said: “How can we maintain the revenue streams that are the mother’s milk of these organizations?
There is very little federal and state money so we rely on the United Way, churches, businesses, foundations and grants. Each organization must develop their own funding strategy. Boards will continue to be asked to make larger financial contributions and help seek out other ways to fund raise.
The good news is there is more money going to foundations, wealthy benefactors and organizations, which should provide more opportunities for grants and well targeted programs. But almost everything else, including local, state and federal support along with the United Way funding, is shrinking as the needs grow.”
Since this was written our government has changed the tax code and may have significantly affected the cash flows to the nonprofits in our town. I asked Carrie Freeman, the CEO of the United Way of Southern Chester County how we are doing with the major upheavals the town has seen and loss of some significant contributors. Carrie replied;
“We are still assessing the impact of the changes in the tax code and how it is affecting non-profit giving. I’ll know the full impact for UWSCC by July. All United Ways are struggling due to 1) people are no longer learning about United Way via the workplace since corporate-sponsored campaigns are disappearing and 2) people like to donate to a single cause/non-profit rather than a community-wide funder like United Way. All non-profits are working to engage millennials who are great volunteers for on-the-ground work and who make small emotional plea ($25 or less) donations via technology, but aren’t convinced about larger sustaining gifts. It’s a changing world for non-profits as we navigate on how to change with the times!”
It is only natural to want to give to an organization you know and love but we each have a sample size of only one and we don’t know all the places our money is needed. That is why the United Way is so critical to the health of this community. The United Way doesn’t fund any organization more than 25% so that they will have to raise most of their money.
But this means that our community alone must come up with another $5 million every year, and there is a lot that needs to be done that isn’t being resourced adequately like pre-school. I remember one of the ministers in town complaining that his church was wealthy and if he wanted thousands of dollars for the organ or a Sunday school program he would have the money in weeks but if he needed money for foreign missions or the pension fund – “crickets”.
We had one organization that helped the high school kids with great programs and they saw a need and started to provide services for young unwed mothers. This was so efficient and valuable to the community, but eventually they had to separate it from the parent organization because people wanted to give directly to the young families and not to young people in general. You have to work hard to make it easy for people to give.
But maybe more than anything we need to learn how much our money is needed to make our community great and how to trust other people to spend our money wisely. We have three things to offer the community---work, wealth and wisdom. And it would be a shame if we didn’t give all three. But don’t forget the money.
Books may be purchased on Amazon and at the Mushroom Cap or Resale Book Shoppe in Kennett. You can contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.