Local United Way knows how to get community involved in a good idea

Published 7:37 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

For nonprofit organizations, fundraising is a way of life, and finding inventive ways to encourage people to give is always a challenge.

And when it comes to finding inventive and fun ways to raise money, the staff at United Way of West Central Mississippi are masters. Their programs and events to encourage people to give are entertaining, fun and novel. From Dancing with the Stars to the Color Run and Supper on the Sip, the United Way staff has found a way to draw different areas of the community into the spirit of giving.

That’s what makes their latest event so interesting.

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The mascot challenge was a program that involved schools in Vicksburg and Warren County in raising funds for United Way. The prize was money to help the winning school purchase a new mascot costume.

“We really wanted to come up with a fun way to raise money for United Way’s Campaign and a way to benefit the schools at the same time,” United Way marketing and community relations director for Kami May said.

“And since some elementary schools don’t even have a mascot costume and the high school costumes haven’t been updated in decades, we thought this was something people could getting behind, and with the bond issue being passed and new renovations coming, we felt it was time to make sure the mascots got a makeover too,” she said.

The online campaign was open to every school in Vicksburg and Warren County —public and private — totaling 18 schools.

“We sent out flyers and hung posters at the schools with a QR Code and a link posted,” May said. Each vote cost a $1; cash donations were accepted as offline donations.

Vicksburg High School was the challenge winner, raising $340. After the check was written to VHS, May said, the United made a profit of $377.

Mississippi residents have a reputation for being generous and donating money to nonprofit organizations and church programs. But the competition for those funds is tough and sometimes encouraging people to give to a cause can be a challenge.

United Way has demonstrated that special talent to come up with events that make giving fun.

They deserve a well done for their latest effort, and the children of the county should be congratulated for wanting to give to a good cause.