Readers call TDN on occasion and ask that we print more good news. Well, here is some good news – residents of the Lower Columbia region continue to be some of the most giving and caring people.

How do we know? Because every year people pull money out of their pockets and contribute to the newspaper’s Neighbors in Need fundraiser. And, we are so grateful for your generosity. Thank you.

As of Monday, this year’s Neighbors in Need campaign has reached $9,724 in donations. We hope you consider giving to NIN this year, even if it is just a few dollars.

Every dollar TDN taken in through Neighbors in Need goes directly to our partner charities – St. Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army. The newspaper pays all transaction, banking and regulatory expenses related to all donations, which means when you give $1 to NIN, the entire $1 goes to help people in the local area.

Neighbors in Need is a registered 501©(3) charity, so your donations also may be tax deductible.

Some readers inquire why TDN associates with two charities for the NIN campaign. We partner with St. Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army for several reasons. They do a great job helping people in need, they focus on feeding and supporting local citizens and they agree to manage NIN money using sound accounting practices.

Theft is an unfortunate issue that has plagued the charity industry for years. Many organizations have fallen victim to significant money losses, and donor trust, because sound accounting practices were not consistently employed.

While there are no guarantees in life, we chose charitable partners who not only use sound accounting practices, but are willing to sign a document every three months indicating the accounting practices continue to be used. This gives the newspaper some assurance that money dispersed through Neighbors in Need is handled well. We also hope donors recognize the efforts to run a good business and choose to give to a trustworthy charity.

Another reason we work with two charitable partners is to appeal to as many donors as possible. Eight years ago, donations to NIN averaged about $35,000 per year. We set out to re-energize Neighbors in Need and garner more donations. After several changes, which included adding St. Vincent as a partner agency, donations jumped. Since the 2010 NIN campaign, donations have averaged more than $51,000 per year. This is an amazing amount of public giving.

Generous people from around the area have given an amazing $361,500 to Neighbors in Need since 2010. We are extremely thankful and appreciative of the community’s support.

One change we made a few years ago was to allow donations to be made online. Anyone who wants to give money can log on to tdn.com/nin and make a donation through PayPal. The online donation process is quick, easy and secure. Each year, more people taking advantage of the e-commerce opportunity to donate, which hopefully will provide another avenue for growth in the coming years.

Looking at charitable giving on a larger scale, donations across the United States continue to rise. According to Giving USA, Americans donated an astounding $390 billion in 2016 and donations from individuals jumped 4 percent over the previous year.

Charitable giving and the state of the economy have often been linked. When consumer spending confidence is high and the economy is growing, people tend to donate more. Even the stock market indices are a reasonable measure of how giving people will be. Strong economic indicators tend to support financial stability in families and thus they tend to be more charitable.

From a broad perspective, donations to NIN – and charities in general – come from four categories.

The largest source of funds comes from individuals. Foundations donate large amounts of money to many charities, bequests are significant sources of charitable funds and as is corporate giving.

In 2016, individuals donated an estimated $282 billion – or about 72 percent of all charitable dollars – according to Giving USA. Charitable foundations were the second largest category in terms of donation dollars giving $59 billion. Bequests gave an estimated $30 billion to charities. Finally, corporations donated $19 billion to worthy causes.

The information above shows the power of individual charitable donors. It means the money you give to Neighbors in Need is important, needed and appreciated.

Many of the donations individuals make are small amounts of money, like $10. Smaller donations are great for a charitable campaign because the money adds up fast and the simple act of donating often spurs giving by others.

Charitable giving is important to our community. Charities help fill the gaps other programs don’t cover and ensure anyone who is hungry has access to food.

We hope you consider giving to Neighbors in Need this year, and if you’ve already donated, thank you.

Happy holidays.

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