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What's New?

I don’t know about you, but every year in November and December I have the misconception that things will be slower, calmer, less busy as soon as the holidays are over. I want to go on record here refuting that sentiment. January, for United Way of Steele County, most nonprofits we interact with and many of you is just as busy as those other months — but different. At this time of year, we are doing the tallying, recapping the prior year, setting budgets and plans, and having meetings about all of those things.

The big difference that I can see is that in December we are living in the present, addressing things that need to be done now. In January, sometimes we are living in the future. We look at what we are going to accomplish in the coming year and build a roadmap to get there. In order to set our United Way of Steele County budget, the board looks to me see into the future and prognosticate how much we will raise at the end of 2020 — when we just now finished the task for 2019.

Luckily, we have an excellent 5-year fundraising trend to go on. We’ve grown by a predictable percentage year over year during that time. (I’m being purposefully coy here because we haven’t publicly announced our 2019 Campaign achievement, yet. We’ll be revealing that this evening —Tuesday, Jan. 21 — at our Victory Celebration. Give me a call if you still need tickets!) We use this trending and other business practices to guess about what we will raise, so that we know what good we can do in the community this year.

Unlike most businesses, though we have a lot less control over our revenue. It’s really in your hands. We have no product to sell, no services for people to subscribe to, and the direct benefits our supporters receive are intangible, intrinsic and mutable. We have hundreds of loyal and generous individual donors and dozens of donors from business and corporate ranks that do so out of pure generosity and community caring.

It’s because of this relationship we have with donors that the gratitude swells up in me every year at this time. As we begin to conceive of our work for the coming year, we know we can do it because we have an army of supporters that allow it to happen. We are so grateful that year after year you support the network of agencies that uplift and protect your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers and your loved ones. We ARE neighbors helping neighbors. We are what you want and allow us to be in Steele County. We were very successful in our fundraising in 2019 we are going to have a great year helping people in 2020. Thank you!

Kim Schaufenbuel is President of United Way of Steele County. She can be reached at 507-455-1180 or via email by Our website is