United Way shifting focus

Changing demographics in Sandusky have made fundraising a challenge, United Way officials said.
Tom Jackson
Mar 4, 2014


United Way of Erie County leaders announced this week that the agency has reached 83 percent of its $650,000 fundraising goal.

The final result isn’t likely to get much beyond that, although money is still coming in, said the agency’s executive director, Pamela Brumbaugh.

“I’m hoping we come in a little bit higher yet,” Brumbaugh said.

The report came at Wednesday’s “Campaign Celebration of Success,” at Castaway Bay, which honored the local businesses and organizations who enjoyed the most success in raising money for United Way’s fundraising drive.

The $650,000 goal followed several years in which the organization had set a $750,000 goal but been unable to reach it.

No decision has been made on what next drive’s goal will be.

“We need to discuss that,” said David Springer of Industrial Nut, who in January began a three-year term as the board’s president. “At the appropriate time, we’ll release that”

Changing demographics in Sandusky have made fundraising a challenge, United Way officials said.

Brumbaugh told a crowd of several dozen people that she didn’t want the discussion about fundraising goals to obscure the fact that United Way had succeeded in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid people in Erie County who need help.

“I call that a victory,” she said. “We need to remember that United Way is more than a fundraising machine”

Officials from a number of local companies and government organizations were given awards for their success in raising money for United Way in the just-concluded drive.

Three companies were honored for raising more than $20,000: Sandusky International, a subsidiary of MetalTek International; Citizens Bank and KBI, Kyklos Bearing International.

Four companies received nods for raising between $10,000 and $20,000: FirstEnergy, Buckeye CableSystem, Industrial Nut Corp. and the Sandusky Register.

Five organizations got awards for raising between $5,000 and $10,000: N2Y, UPS, Erie County government offices, Sandusky City Schools administrative offices and the City of Sandusky.

Springer and Brumbaugh also talked about the local United Way chapter’s decision to switch to a community impact model to guide its efforts.

The idea is to go beyond the agency’s traditional fund-raising role, which will continue, and take a more hands-on approach, Springer said.

The idea is to look at what problems are not being met in the area and take steps to deal with them.

“It’s a more proactive role for the United Way” he said.



I don't believe the United Way has hit their goal for years even with a reduction in total goal amount. Not sure the agency holds the same importance with the citizens as in years past . My support for local non profit agencies has decrease. I now send my personal financial assistance directly to the individual or family I wish to help. In my mind it removes a layer of bureaucracy and puts assistance in the hands of those in need in a more timely fashion.


It is the sign of the times. No one has any money to spare anymore.


The key to less money being raised is in the phrase "changing demographics." There are less big corporations in the county that can wring donations out of their employees. Anyone who ever worked in corporate America knows exactly what I am talking about and the pressure that was/is put on employees to donate to the United Way. I suppose this is justified by the "end justifying the means."

However, I also must agree with donutshopguy. The days of giving to one big organization, which in turn distributes your money to causes that you may or may not agree with, are over. Today there are so many ways to donate your money specifically to causes in which you believe, that it makes no sense to use the United Way.


I haven't donated via the United Way for years. That's in part because it collects a "slush fund" that's directed to many groups, some of which I do not support. But it's also because a portion of my donations are used to fund the United Way itself. As a result, I give directly to those causes I DO support, and have the added comfort of knowing that 100% of any donation is received by THAT charity, and that charity alone.


Re: "slush fund"


I tend to donate to individual institutions and causes.

I like to know EXACTLY how and where my donation is being spent.

Also, taxpayer funded govt. entitlement spending toward certain favored political 'constituencies' have reduced the need in some cases for charitable giving.


Just curious, but how much money do the administrators make?



Type into their search for any particular united way city, county, or whatever.

It is the best place I have found to check on most charities. I use it whenever I donate to see where and what percentage of my donation gets to the recipient. It is a good idea to make sure the charity donates 95% or more to the folks it is intended to reach.


"Changing demographics"?

Is that a euphemism for: More receivers than givers?


Is there a breakdown of where exactly the funds go? Who specifically receives the grants, how much is funneled into the 211 program, how much does UW keep, etc.? Some might feel better about donating if they knew exactly where the money is going....



Might help or point you in the right direction.

Fibber Mcgee

If all the money stayed here it would be different, like the Norwalk United Fund, their funding stays right in the area, and the admin doesn't make a whole lot of money either.

Fibber Mcgee

double post sorry...

Steve P

What is the salary of the executive director and total administrative costs?

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine

A little older but will give you info as well http://www.uwerieco.org/sites/uw...

Steve P

Checking the United Way website the last complete financial report on that site is 2009, in which $196,819 was spent for administrative costs. I am guessing costs has increased since 2009 but even using that figure, this year almost $1 of every $3 raised is used for administrative costs. Clearly donating to the charity of you choice and cutting out these high administrative costs is the best course of action.


Administrators have been getting a free ride and perks for too many years, If all else fails hit up your friendly county drug dealers for donations... oh, wait