May 7, 2013

Editorial: Support those who support you


---- — The Press-Republican carries many Letters to the Editor thanking people for their support of local fundraising events. Some people want us to stop doing so.

If you read the paper in print or online, you have certainly seen the letters. They usually talk about a recent fundraiser and the important roles played by the organizers, volunteers, participants and donors. They often include a long list of names of people or businesses who helped make the event a success (staying within our strict 300-word limit for Letters to the Editor, of course).

Occasionally, comments are made online or in Speakout that these letters are self-serving and boring, and the Press-Republican is asked not to carry them anymore. That will never happen because those letters serve a vital function.

First, let us address the idea that they are self-serving. Most local businesses and donors who give to a cause are not looking for glory.

Once in a while, we will hear from an organization asking how they can get publicity for a business that gave money or goods. But most of the time the money is given not as a tax writeoff, as some cynics would suggest, and not as a way to get attention but because these businesses or individuals truly care about the community.

Maybe they have family members involved in the cause or who face similar medical conditions. Sometimes they are touched by articles they read in the Press-Republican about local people who are struggling with adversity.

The truth is that these donors don’t just empathize; they “invest” in trying to improve the situation by allocating time, money or services. The prizes they give, the event locations they provide, the checks they write, the time they put in — all of these demonstrate compassion and caring.

Are the letters boring? We suppose that reading a long list of names could be considered such. If you feel that way, skip on to the next letter.

But instead of looking at these thank-you letters as a rote rundown of names, we encourage you to think of it as a “shopping list” of people who care. If you support the cause, show your appreciation by patronizing the businesses, which aren’t just passive members of the local community.

We see many area businesses and national chains that contribute over and over to local causes. Some are big givers; others can afford only a small amount. But they are doing more than most.

The organizations holding the fundraisers know how vital the donors are to making their financial goals and achieving awareness. But writing individual thank-you letters would take up time needed for other duties.

They want the businesses and individuals to get the credit they deserve — and we will continue to offer a public way to do that.