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It's the seventh inning

This editorial appeared in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel on March 8, 2020


It feels like we are in the seventh inning of a very long baseball game. The “game” is our annual campaign and the wind up pitch was delivered back in September. Like a four seam fast ball, we came out firing, energized and ready to go the distance. Our team was prepared, well-conditioned and game ready. Our fans were in the stands ready to cheer us on. Every detail was in place and it was opening day! One pitch crossing the plate and the game was underway! Campaign season had begun.


The early innings of this game are always showcased by our workplace campaigns. Charitable campaigns run by employers large and small across the Mid-Ohio Valley. Workplace Campaigns are the opportunity for every employee to make a difference and give to a community cause. What does this workplace launch look like to our team? Time! Visits! Presentations! Repeat! We had the opportunity to visit and share with workplace communities across our region, letting them know how their United Way is building a stronger, safer and healthier community for all. We were able to educate and energize. We found new recruits and recommitted seasoned donors. The early innings of our campaign laid the ground work for a successful year thanks to our strong workplace giving commitments.


But as any baseball fan knows, early inning success isn’t always indicative of a victory. Strong innings are a great way to open the game, but with a long game ahead, perseverance is essential. As fall progressed and established workplace campaigns were underway, we continued to seek new niches, new opportunities and new areas for growth. We engaged with workplaces that might not know our mission well and brought the opportunity to their staff to join our crusade and strengthen our efforts. We engaged individual donors- both previous and new. We worked to forge new relationships and we dedicated ourselves to getting out message out to the community. The impact we make is phenomenal, and we know it is critical that we share the reach of that impact with our donor base both existing and prospective. When people understand what we do and how well we do it- they want to be a part.


They want to join the fight. They want to give what they canto make a difference. So for what sometimes feels like endless innings of the campaign, we commit to getting the word out and inviting new fans to rally behind our team.

While the team is on this proverbial field, striving towards a campaign goal, battling through innings and zipping our best pitches across the plate, the home office, the press box and the farm program are all a flurry with activity. While we are working to raise the campaign, we are simultaneously executing programing- did you know that your United Way runs 8 programs and initiatives from their office. The also host 10 special events throughout the year AND execute a robust funding allocation process that brings more than 150 people together to determine how the funds raised will be invested in the community throughout the coming year. Your United Way team is also funding, collaborating and networking with more than 80 programs and partners throughout the community on an ongoing basis. There is so much going on inside the club; what you see shining on the field on game day…that’s just the beginning. The behind the scenes never rests, not even during the most critical innings of the game. We’re fielding our share of curveballs and sinkers, and swinging sometimes to just stay alive.

So here we are months in to the campaign, and innings into the game. It’s the heralded seventh inning; we are near the bottom of the seventh and we are on deck, ready to swing for the bleachers. We have battled through well more than half of the game. There are two innings left- or roughly 25 days until the end of the campaign. While the score looks good and the first seven innings have given us much confidence, we know the game must be won in these last two innings. We are still reaching, we are still raising money and we are still pushing forward. We know the critical needs of this community and we are confident in the United Way’s ability to make measurable impact. We cannot do that alone. In fact we only succeed because of the support of this community. Every fan, every seat, every time. That’s how a difference is made; that’s how we effect real and lasting change.


If you have given to the campaign this year~ thank you! If you have not yet made a contribution, please consider what you might be able to do. Every. Gift. Matters. Every dollar counts. We are rounding third and we are running at full steam; you can help us cross that victorious home plate.


We have an amazing team and we have fantastic fans. It has been a long and hard fought game to get to this point, but we are not done. With two innings to go, the game is on the line. It’s rally cap time, so turn your hats around and let’s make some noise! Join us for a strong finish as we swing for the stars!


You can give online or by calling or office 304-580-0570.