Q: What does United Way do?
A: United Way works to improve lives and community conditions by bringing people and resources together to focus on the local issues that matter most. We operate by the philosophy that together, united, we accomplish far more than any individual or single agency could achieve alone. United Way harnesses the collective power of personal giving, corporate participation, expertise in human services, the energy of volunteers and the work of like-minded organizations.
United Way tends to be most visible in the community during its annual fundraising campaign, which typically begins in late summer. However, United Way is active year-round studying community needs and directing resources to where they will accomplish the greatest benefit...in changed lives and stronger communities. Our focus is on EDUCATION, INCOME, HEALTH and people's ability to meet their BASIC NEEDS. These are the building blocks everyone needs for a good quality of life, and they are the cornerstones to strong, prosperous community.
Q: How is United Way different?
A: Our focus is local and comprehensive. We look at the spectrum of unique issues and needs that affect the Greater Capital Region. Our strategy is to locate and mobilize resources -- and align them for impact. Instead of having small pockets of money and effort scattered across a broad swath of need, United Way ensures that resources are targeted strategically to achieve the most powerful results in the critical areas of Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs.
Q: Why should I give to United Way when I can give directly to an individual charity?
1. The issues facing our community are complex and connected. Academic failure, a family’s inability to meet basic needs, and health concerns are often related. United Way Community Care dollars support a portfolio of high-performing programs that, together, change lives and community conditions at a deep and lasting level.
2. United Way’s work centers on helping people gain access to the building blocks for a good quality of life, which research and practice has shown to be EDUCATION that leads to gainful employment, INCOME to meet basic needs and support a family through retirement, resources to achieve good HEALTH and the ability to meet one's BASIC NEEDS for food, shelter and safety.
3. United Way’s focus on early intervention prevents problems from reaching the level of acute need, which often requires repeated and expensive treatment. It’s the difference between spending annually to add beds to homeless shelters and investing strategically to reduce the underlying conditions that lead to homelessness.
4. Programs that receive United Way Community Care dollars are reviewed for effectiveness and financial efficiency by trained community volunteers who know our region and are committed to improving the local quality of life. United Way monitors the performance of funded programs so donors are assured the strongest return on their charitable dollar.
5. United, we can accomplish far more than any individual or single agency could achieve alone. When you give to United Way, your dollars are pooled with the investments of individuals across the Capital Region to have a powerful and concentrated impact on the local issues that affect all of us.
6. United Way leverages your contribution to make a greater impact by combining it with volunteer efforts, advocacy and best practices – all focused on community priorities. United Way’s unique position allows us to work across traditional boundaries between the private, non-profit and public sectors so that we’re able to multiply the results of your charitable dollar.
Q: Where does the money go?
A: In the fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2012, United Way Community Care Dollars will go to 100 local programs and special initiatives representing 56 agencies. You can view a list of these programs here.
Q: I am a United Way donor. So why can’t I get assistance directly from United Way?
A: United Way of the Greater Capital Region gathers resources to strengthen local human services that offer direct help to people in need. United Way does not directly serve clients.
Through our history, we have found this unique support role to be the most effective and efficient way for donors, human service agencies and United Way to work together to change lives and community conditions.
United Way supports local agencies by issuing grants, monitoring results, offering technical assistance, mobilizing volunteers and creating strategies to make lasting improvements in people’s lives and the community.
People seeking direct services are encouraged to call United Way 2-1-1, which is an information and referral service that can provide information on local agencies that provide assistance to people in need. United Way 2-1-1 is supported by money from United Way donors. Many of the agencies in the 2-1-1 database receive United Way support and are therefore better equipped to carry out their critical work thanks to United Way.
Q: What percentage of the money I give to United Way goes to United Way’s overhead?
A: United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s overhead expenses for the year ending June 2012 are 17 percent. This includes all campaign supplies and expenses, year-round community planning, year-round community service and agency relations, as well as year-round billing and collection of pledges.
This is far more efficient than the 35 percent threshold endorsed by the Better Business Bureau and the Nation Charities Information Bureau.
One reason we’re able to keep campaign expenses so low is that United Way is able to utilize more than 1,000 volunteers annually to assist with everything from fundraising, to community planning, to hands-on projects that directly benefit local agencies. Last year, these volunteers contributed $717,000 to community projects and other efforts that advance United Way’s work.