Just what is United Way? United Way is a local non-profit organization and the largest on-governmental funder of health and human services in our community. It raises those funds through one community-wide campaign, usually in the fall each year.
How many counties does United Way serve? United Way of the Pennyrile serves four counties directly - Caldwell, Christian, Todd and Trigg. In addition, UWP allows donors who live in another county to designate their contributions to the United Way in their home county or to a specific health and human service nonprofit organization in their home county.
How many agencies are represented? There are 21 United Way agencies and programs to be funded in whole or in part through the Fall campaign. Many of these organizations actually offer services in more than one county.
Who decides what agencies are supported? United Way uses community volunteers in each county to evaluate the agencies that will be supported and to decide how money raised in the campaign is distributed among the eligible agencies.
Why should I give when I never use United Way services? You may feel that you and your family never use United Way agency services, but if that is so, then you are an exception to the rule. Agency services are for everyone. Job loss, the loss of a loved one, a terminal illness, disabilities, family problems, and the problems of growing up or growing old know no boundaries. Last year, United Way agencies served more than 60,000 people in Christian County alone. The population of Christian County is estimated at some 75,000. That means that there's a better than even chance that out of any two people, one of them has been affected by a United Way agency. If you look at the list of agencies, you're bound to see some that affect you, a family member, or someone else you care about. We may hope we never have to use any of the agencies, but it's comforting to know that we're helping to insure that those services are there when they are needed.
How do you set the campaign goal? We look at the funding for the agencies and the operation of the United Way office and then factor in an allowance for what we call 'shrinkage.' (Not everyone, unfortunately, will be able to honor their pledges. Some folks will change jobs, others will leave the community, and others may see their own personal circumstances change, making them unable to honor their pledges.)
What is the campaign goal for 2015? $812,700
How much should I give? That's a personal decision. We ask you to consider giving a care share through payroll deduction. There's an old expression, 'give till it hurts'. We'd rather say, 'give what feels good for you.' We think that says it best!
What is a 'care share'? Where did it come from? And why is it important? We've been asked that and, honestly, we can't say for sure where the 'care share/fair share' concept originated, but we think we know why. A couple of years ago, some folks were talking at the United Way office about the new industries coming into town and what we should ask from them in terms of a corporate contribution. Do you ask based on how many people they employ right now or how many they're going to employ? Do you ask them based on whether they're locally owned, a regional company, a national company, or a multi-national company? Just what yardstick do you use? Well, we think that's where the 'care share' concept came from. 'Care share' is simply one hour's pay per month. This way, we're asking everyone in the community for the same thing, regardless of what they do. It doesn't matter whether you're a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker. It's an even-handed approach to asking for community support'one hour's pay per month. Incidentally, that works out to about two (2) minutes pay per day. If your employer offers payroll deduction, once you try it, you'll realize you never even miss it. And, you're doing a lot of good for your community!
I hate paperwork! Why should I go to the trouble of payroll deduction when I can just give some cash or a check right now? Payroll deduction is the best way to help the most people. It's painless giving! Most people find that by giving just a little bit out of each paycheck, they can give more than they could if they made a cash donation or wrote a check at campaign time. Payroll deduction is easy, and helps many people give their 'care share' without a second thought.
I've felt pressured to give in the past. Your United Way has a formal policy against coercion in giving and includes that in the training for campaign workers. Giving is a personal decision. Each individual knows what he or she is comfortable giving. Being made to give also takes away the joy the giver should rightfully feel because of being a part of something to improve the community, and replaces that joy with resentment. United Way is opposed to coercion in giving in any form.
How do I know my money is being used the way it should be? We watch carefully over donated dollars and consider it a genuine responsibility on our part. Every spring, we conduct a Community Investment process, in which we recruit volunteers from throughout the community, just like those of you here, to review each agency seeking funding. Those volunteers are assigned to Agency Review Panels and each of the panels is given three or four agencies to review, depending on the size and complexity of the agencies involved. The Panels review the management, the services, and the financial accountability and operation of each of their assigned agencies. They review the budget request for the coming year and recommend an amount of funding based on their review of the agency. The Community Investment Committee (made up of the chairpersons of each Review Panel) gives each recommendation a final review and then makes an overall recommendation to the United Way Board of Directors.
What if an agency is unhappy with its funding recommendation? An agency has the right to appeal its funding recommendation if it is dissatisfied, first to the Community Investment Committee, and then, if necessary, to the United Way Board of Directors with the Board having the final decision.
What does United Way Worldwide have to do with all this? United Way Worldwide is a national support organization designed to assist local United Ways across the country. It is not the corporate headquarters. It doesn't set policies or regulate local United Ways; it simply provides cost-saving services to the local United Ways.
If United Way Worldwide doesn't tell us what to do, who does? You do! Your United Way is a local United Way, governed by a local board that makes local decisions. The board decides what agencies are supported locally. You may sometimes hear someone say, 'I don't support United Way because they support (Program X).' You need to look at the local list. Your United Way supports only the programs listed in the campaign or agency brochure. That's why every United Way's list of supported agencies is a little bit different from the next United Way. Every community is different, and so are the agencies that those communities choose to support with their United Way campaign.