I received a call from the Los Angeles Business Journal asking about the effect of the current financial turmoil and impending disaster is having on our fundraising and our Mission. I’d like to share my answers with you.
The need and demand for our services is up with more single people, more two parent families, single fathers with children, and, in a couple of cases, even former donors, coming to Union Rescue Mission and appearing at our doors in need of help. At the same time, giving to our Mission has dropped, about 17% so far this year compared to last year, and dropped off even more significantly in the last 10 days. More need with fewer resources is a very challenging combination. Each day we are meeting to strategize on cost cutting in order to make it through this difficult time while still stepping up to meet the extra need.
The reasons we have made it this far vary but we do believe there are two categories of faithful friends out there who sustain us during this tough time. We have a group of donors (1,450 in number) who give regularly each week or month, in gift amounts between $14.00 to $25.00, even $100 up to $500. I believe these people are not giving from their excess, but are faithfully giving despite the pain and challenge it brings to their own lifestyle. They believe so strongly in caring for the “least of these” that Jesus Christ spoke of and offering hope to people who have run out of hope that they are willing to sacrificially give despite the hardship it brings on them. It is hard for me to describe the appreciation that I feel for these 1,450 faithful friends of Union Rescue Mission.
The next group of donors helping us through this hard season is a constant surprise and gives us the opportunity to be astonished from time to time. These are precious folks from the “Greatest Generation”, who remembered our guests when they wrote out their wills and estates. This group usually comes out of the first group that I described above. They often faithfully gave a regular, though not an extraordinary total amount, throughout their lifetime, and yet, shortly after they have left this world, Union Rescue Mission is notified that they remembered us, and we are alerted to the fact that a large gift, possibly greater than $100,000, is on its way. When it arrives, as one did yesterday, we gather around as a team, ring a wonderful bell made for the Mission by a dear friend, and remember this generous, loving person, pray as a group and thank our Lord for the provision that allows us to carry on with this needed work and ministry. Yesterday, we received two of these gifts. These gifts are literally carrying us through difficult times when we seriously are wondering if we will make it through. These friends planned ahead and now are unaffected by these tough financial times, but they are making a huge difference in our lives and more importantly in the lives of our guests.
I plan on joining this group of difference makers. I have placed URM in my estate plans. If you would like to be this kind of difference maker please contact email@example.com. Keep us in your prayers! Andy B.