We’re in a “Niche”
As we are in the height of fundraising season at the Heart of Florida Hope Foundation, the fundraising arm for ARC Marion, it’s always interesting for me to pause and reflect on just how we can reach people with our message. Sure, we have fun events in which anyone would want to be apart such as our annual custom Harley-Davidson drawing, annual golf event and annual celebration at Golden Ocala country club, but there has to be another way to make people see who we are, and what we do.
It comes down to this… we are in a unique niche. Simply stated, the developmentally disabled are a people group who need private funding in Florida more than in any other state in the U.S., yet they aren’t always the ones thought of first when funds are available to distribute. I look at our most recent United Way community campaign and see those associations receiving the top dollars allocated this year. Understanding there was much less to go around while many more services needed funding, I see programs for senior adults, children, the homeless and centers for domestic violence taking precedent over those with developmental disabilities. In fact, an ARC Marion program that has been funded by the United Way for decades is not receiving anything this year.
I don’t cast blame on any one person or entity for the lack of money coming in. However it just shows me time and again how much harder we have to work to help people realize the need, and the need is great!
As we wrote several months ago, the six degrees of separation from someone with developmental disabilities still exists. Nearly everyone we come across has a sister, cousin, friend or neighbor with DD and yet often it’s easier to give to an out-of-town mail order charity looking for a few bucks. I urge you to consider the needs of the people right in your own community, especially those with the least amount of resources and abilities. That probably brings you right back to senior adults, children, the homeless, and those suffering in domestic violence situations, however, I hope you can add those with developmental disabilities to the list. We know we hold a special niche, and we will continue to do all we can to advocate for these special people.