United Way of Horry County fundraising achieved its goal again, reaching $1.3 million on April 11, several days prior to the official April 30 end of the drive.
A year ago, the campaign started the final day $500 short of a somewhat smaller $1.275 million goal. Reaching the mark several days before the deadline this year is one of the positive economic indicators to be taken from the success of the drive.
On April 11, the campaign was $7,000 short of the goal. “It was a joyous opening of the mail” that morning with the arrival of a corporate donation of $10,000, says Genie Sherard, president of the United Way of Horry County. “Making goal early shows the economy is coming back, slowly but surely.”
Any fundraising of this magnitude requires a lot of hard work, and there is absolutely no doubt that the many United Way volunteers worked very hard – as they have for years. It’s significant that this year’s drive was able to achieve success in a still-improving regional economy. United Way drives everywhere are microcosms of an area’s overall economy.
Following the recession of 2008, United Way of Horry County campaigns fell short of $1.275 million goals. Those results came in the wake of raising $1,491,000, well over the $1.475 million goal of that campaign. So the $1.3 million reached April 11 is $175,000 less than the goal seven years ago. That says plenty about the depth of the recession and the hardships it caused.
The Black River United Way, covering Georgetown and Williamsburg counties, continues its annual fundraising, with all donations up to $7,500 being matched through Low Country Day of Giving on May 3. The BRUW goal is $500,000.
The drives, too, are more than economic indicators. The success of the current Horry campaign “shows the caring power of this area,” Sherard says. “The people I talk with around Horry County, they want to see people live better lives.”
Keys to reaching the goal include “new donations and increasing existing contributions.” Specifically, campaign chairman Justin Lee put emphasis on reaching new businesses with an added division led by Deborah Bridges-Manning. As of the most recent report, the campaign had contributions (averaging a little over $100) from 47 small businesses.
Sherard also notes the growth of the Crescent Society ($5,000 or more contributions) memberships to 12. Dennis Wade heads the Crescent Society, created 18 months ago. The North Strand Division, led by Tara Griffiths, is at 191 percent of its goal and the North Myrtle Beach Business subdivision at 295 percent. Other subdivisions over 100 percent are South Strand Residential (Sherry Maloni), 125 percent; Campgrounds (Annette Shepherd), 122 percent; Agencies (Bob Squatriglia), 113 percent.
Other divisions and subdivisions are in high 90 percentiles, according to the April 18 newsletter, and have time to make their goals. The grand total figure was $1,302,390.72 – 100.18 percent. Any individual, business or organization wishing to increase the total has time to participate and we urge them to do so.
It’s about the ebb and flow of fundraising, in Sherard’s view. “I want our volunteers to feel fabulous. There is always ebb and flow and our volunteers have made the flow higher than the ebb.”
Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for Horry County government, has been elected chairwoman of the board of directors, United Way of Horry County. Bourcier led the successful 2014-15 fundraising campaign. On May 1, Bourcier will take the board gavel, following Mike Poston.
John Rowe will be the chairman for the next fundraising campaign, following Justin Lee.
United Way of Horry County board members will have a retreat on May 6 “to talk about ways to increase impact, target needs and measure results,” according to United Way president Genie Sherard. The focus of the retreat is on “vision, the next step for the future, the next generation.” The retreat will be led by Patrick Jinks, a vice president of the United Way Association of S.C.
▪ United Way of Horry County
Phone | 843-347-5195
Online | www.unitedwayhcsc.org
▪ Black River United Way
Phone | 843-546-6317
Online | www.Blackriveruw.org