Guest Column: Support the essential community programs

Published 10:23 pm Friday, January 19, 2018

Live United by Denise Tipton

Being fairly new to the nonprofit world I am learning as I go. One of the most important things I have learned is the importance of educated giving. 

We all feel so good when we give, but giving must be researched and understood.   

Denise Tipton

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I love animals. They’re so cute and helpless, but as we donate to shelters and the shelters fill up, do we think ahead? Where will all these little furry friends be going to? 

We have the warm fuzzies because we gave to an organization or a cause we feel is really important. Yes, they are all important, but there is a bigger picture. So, are we really helping? Yes, of course, but more needs to be done. 

If there are no homes for our furry friends or capable families to adopt them, what happens? We have overpopulated shelters, and we know what happens in the end.

If we donate to food shelves and no one can drive to them, then food is wasted. If we do not have sustainable housing, people will not have a place to eat or sleep at night.

Organizations such as United Way help sustain other organizations and look at the big picture when it comes to solving community issues. United Way helps fund many of our local nonprofits — encouraging collaboration and problem-solving between organizations. This work helps to overcome many barriers we face in our community.

United Way helps seniors with transportation, support for caretakers and financial stability through the work of staff at Senior Resources. It helps provide job coaching and support through Cedar Valley Services so people may get and maintain employment. It helps provide food and shelter for families in need through Semcac and The Salvation Army. There has been a long history of support for these and other vital services, but it isn’t guaranteed to be sustainable.

We need to give. There is no question about that. Nonprofits are vital to our community and they all do so much.   

Organizations are losing funding because of budget cuts due to the lack of both corporate and individual giving.  This is a problem for all nonprofits worldwide.

The world is changing so quickly, and nonprofits are disappearing. It is up to us to make sure we focus on supporting the programs that are essential to our communities.

Some helpful hints to consider when determining where to give:   

1. Do your research. Know your organization and read its mission statement. A good organization will know exactly who they are and what they do.

2. Know the organizations results and their impact.

3. Be proactive and follow your investment.

Let’s make all those philanthropic dollars count and happy giving everyone.

Denise Tipton is volunteer and outreach coordinator for the Community Resource Center.