Despite another year of online-based fundraising to continue its 40 years of supporting United Way, the University of Guelph this year raised more than $500,000 for the organization.

Operating the campaign online has been a challenge, said co-chair Elaine Fenner, director of experiential learning for U of G. The pandemic meant the cancellation of in-person events and gatherings and it also created a greater need for the resources United Way provides in the community.

“The demand has gone through the roof,” Fenner explained, and for that reason, the fundraising goal remained the same as previous years. In total, $518,697 was raised, and Fenner credits that to the dedication of the volunteers and the steering committee.

Fenner said U of G is “one of the larger post-secondary supporters” of the campaign that typically begins planning in early spring. This year, she said, lessons learned from the pandemic will continue to impact the way future campaigns roll out.

“What we’ve learned is that we need to plan for a hybrid campaign. Moving forward, there will always be some online pieces.”