A challenge, not a condemnation

Published 4:05 pm Sunday, September 6, 2009

By Staff
Although it outperformed other United Way agencies in North Carolina during the most-recent fundraising season, United Way of Beaufort County came up just $6,000 short of its goal of $375,000.
Some people questioned the headline “United Way falls short of its fundraising goal” in this newspaper. The headline was not meant as a derisive comment. It simply and accurately reflected what occurred — for the first time in several years, United Way of Beaufort County did not meet its fundraising goal. That’s news, it may not be pleasant news, but it is news.
The article, in its second paragraph, noted the campaign raised 98 percent of its goal. The third paragraph made it clear the Beaufort County community responded admirably — during a recession — when it came to providing funds to the agency.
Mary Elizabeth McNeill, the agency’s executive director, and the agency’s board of directors did an excellent job raising money during a lousy economy. Their dedication will benefit lots of Beaufort County residents.
The headline drew plenty of attention. The people who criticized this newspaper for that headline have that right. We appreciate them for exercising that right.
The headline was meant to inform people that United Way of Beaufort County might not be able to help the agencies and organizations it supports as much as it would like because it didn’t take in the money it expected to receive. After reading the headline, perhaps a person, or two, or 100, may have been inclined to make up the shortfall. That would not be a surprising reaction in Beaufort County.
In effect, the headline was meant to challenge the Beaufort County community to do better the next time around.
Beaufort County residents have a history of being generous when it comes to supporting United Way agencies, even in a crippling recession. They know what United Way-supported agencies have done for them in the past. Look for them to pick up that challenge during the next United Way of Beaufort County fundraising campaign.
It’s a safe bet that campaign will exceed its goal.