At the much-revered nonprofit’s final report luncheon last week, the collective United Way team learned pledges had reached 96 percent.
Some might argue, “Whoa! Back up the train a couple of decimals. That’s 4 percent shy of 100. The goal has not been met. Why such a salute?”
Here’s the answer.
It’s not the numbers ... today. It’s their potential ... tomorrow, and beyond.
True enough, United Way had already designated Nov. 14 as the date for the final report luncheon. But reality is what it is. Companies launch their internal drives at staggered times. Others allot longer periods for employee donations. While some businesses are wrapping up their campaigns, another group is just getting started.
The words “final report luncheon” are just a measuring stick to gauge United Way’s progress. Thanks to the Nov. 14 gathering, United Way now better understands the distance between today’s total and tomorrow’s goal; and better yet, the agency knows how many companies are still conducting their campaigns and the numbers that are just getting started.
Dates are not magic. People are. Their size of heart, care for community and love of others, regardless of day on a calendar, are what help United Way to cross the finish line.
Here’s the bottom line. To date, pledges total $1,924,261 which is 96 percent of the aggressive — yet doable — $2,013,000 goal. By our calculations, that’s a shortfall of only $88,739.
To those who sigh, “... but that’s a lot of money,” let us clarify.
Campaigns in several major companies are still in progress.
Campaigns in a number of other businesses are just now getting under way.
Campaigns within the hearts of many individual givers — some of whom are traditionally loyal United Way believers — await little more than a reminder, an opened checkbook and a signature.
That’s not to say the goal is in the bag. That’s not to insinuate it’s just a matter of time. That’s not to imply victory is inevitable.
What it does say is this. United Way sees a realistic potential that once all the numbers are crunched, which is expected within the new few weeks, the $2,013,000 promised land will be reached. Most believe it could even be exceeded.
Soon, we will know. United Way will make a final announcement once it is determined all accounts are accounted for and that all outstanding campaigns have been completed.
Like the United Way team — donors, supporters, volunteers and staff — we will wish for the best.
Of course, wishing will not make it happen. Doing is the answer. In this case, “doing” means completing unfinished campaigns, collecting the pledges, wrapping up the paperwork and getting the packages into the hands of United Way staff.
Let the calculators then ring up the good news and let the celebration begin.
But then and only then, and certainly not before.
Regardless of incoming totals, those who have worked hard again this year on behalf of the needs of others, and those who have donated, have reason to be proud.
By any standards, and especially in an economy that continues a gradual climb from its deep abyss, 96 percent is a worthy tally. Anything more is even better. And 100 percent is ecstasy.
We anxiously await United Way’s next announcement.
Until then, keep up the great work, volunteers!
Your task is a noble one in a community whose convictions are the envy of most.