Minneapolis city employee charitable giving dropped 17 percent last year, hurt by layoffs, small pay increases, a new healthcare plan that increases deductibles and co-payments, and an uncertain economic future.
Employee payroll deduction programs raised $141,690 in 2003, down from $170,300 pledged in 2002, according to a report to the City Coordinator's office, submitted by John McLain, a Public Works operations analyst and 2003 campaign chair.
The average contribution increased from $212 to $239. It means the larger givers kept giving, but the number of smaller donations dropped off, McLain said.
Trudy Kjensted of the City Coordinator's office, said volunteers took a low-key approach to seeking donations.
"We just wanted to keep it smaller and not send the message to employees: 'We are not giving you increases in pay, and we are cutting staff, but we still expect you to contribute.' The message we were trying to send was, 'Every little bit helps, and if you can help at all, participation is key.'"
McLain said the campaign didn't even use departmental volunteers last year. "It was all done via e-mails and postings. There wasn't the person-to-person contact. That might have affected pledges, too."
More than 1,480 employees participated in the program.
The city plans to bring back department coordinators this year to try to build a little more momentum, McLain said.