Frequently Asked Questions
What does United Way of Allen County do?
United Way of Allen County is a locally controlled non-profit organization dedicated to helping build a stronger community by improving lives and providing lasting change. United Way partners with 34 local non-profit agencies which directly address one of seven community goals: children enter kindergarten ready to learn; children read at grade level by the end of third grade; youth succeed in school; youth successfully transition from school to adulthood; families live productive and economically stable lives; seniors and people with disabilities maintain independence; and individuals and families have food, shelter and access to health care. The funds are allocated by volunteers who carefully examine each program and its results. United Way of Allen County also seeks to make a lasting impact by leading several initiatives in addition to funding programs in the four priority areas: education, income, health and basic needs.
Why give to United Way?
One gift addresses many needs. United Way of Allen County helps meet short-term needs (such as food, shelter and health care), while at the same time meeting long-term needs (such as educational support and counseling) in order to promote self-sufficiency.
Oversight. United Way volunteers ensure that all agency partners and funded programs meet strict standards for governance, financial management, operations and diversity and inclusiveness.
Coordination. United Way of Allen County recruits the people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. For example, United Way is helping coordinate a local response to national changes in programming for the homeless and United Way’s Education Network brings together a group of local early childhood and youth-serving organizations to find ways to help more area children.
Who makes decisions for United Way of Allen County?
United Way of Allen County is a volunteer-driven organization. Its board of directors
is composed of knowledgeable community leaders, all of whom live and/or work in Allen County. The board establishes policy and allocates resources to ensure that United Way is properly managed.
Is United Way of Allen County controlled by its national organization, United Way Worldwide?
No. United Way of Allen County is an autonomous local organization. All funding policies and decisions are made by the local board of directors. The organization receives services from United Way Worldwide
, an organization that assists more than 1,800 local United Ways with: market research information, training opportunities, use of the United Way logo, and relationships with major national employers as well as the National Football League (NFL).
Does United Way provide the services it funds?
In addition to funding programs at 34 local nonprofits
, United Way of Allen County also leads several initiatives in the four priority areas: education, income, health and basic needs. For example, the education initiatives include successful programs such as Real Men Read and School Buddies, which are coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, as well as expanded early childhood initiatives, such as Let's Talk® and Kindergarten Countdown, aimed at kindergarten readiness. The 2-1-1 Services, supported by Lutheran Health Network, are operated by United Way and provide health and human service information and referrals to a 13 county region in Northeast Indiana. The Free Tax Prep Program, in partnership with the Volunteer Center RSVP, is another initiative that provides free, high-quality tax preparation for low- and moderate-income residents.
Who decides how much money goes to each service?
Trained volunteers work on Investment Teams, which study community issues and the best ways to address them. The volunteer groups: make recommendations on funding, identify programs that will help the community reach goals and even recommend partnerships or changes in public policy that should be adopted to influence change. United Way's board of directors make final funding decisions.
Can I donate stock and/or securities?
Yes. Please call the finance office at 260-422-4776.
How can I become a volunteer?
People can inquire about openings on United Way’s board and committees, assist with the annual Day of Caring or help run a workplace fundraising campaign. Many volunteers are needed on Investment Teams that review program funding applications and ensure agencies are meeting United Way standards. Hundreds of volunteers are also needed to work with local children who need help with reading skills. Interested volunteers should visit www.UWEducationNetwork.org
for opportunities to help children, or call 260-422-4776 for general United Way opportunities.
I don't like feeling pressured to give.
United Way staff
and volunteers believe strongly that giving is a personal choice. In fact, United Way encourages peer solicitation and employee meetings specifically to avoid the possibility of coercion and to give interested individuals the opportunity to be both informed about, and involved in, the United Way mission. Any pressure is contradictory to agency operating principles. If you feel pressured to give, United Way recommends you discuss your discomfort with your campaign coordinator.
I never use United Way-supported services. Why should I give?
Your financial and volunteer support ensures that help is available to people in need in our community. In the end, strengthening individuals and families ripples out to our entire community, helping us all.
I don't live in Allen County. Why should I give?
United Way of Allen County supports local services, and United Way services are available to people who live OR work in Allen County. If you like, you can choose to give to a United Way in another community. But consider that some services are not available in smaller communities, so people in those areas depend on accessing them in Allen County. Also, United Way can only forward donations to a United Way in another community, not a specific agency in that county.
United Way funds programs at an agency I don't like: May I designate my gift?
United Ways’ Community Fund supports more than 60 programs and services, all judged to be efficient and effective by volunteers serving on allocation panels. These programs serve a wide range of human needs, such as emergency shelter, health care, counseling, mentoring and literacy instruction. If you feel strongly about directing your gift, you can designate to services you most want to support. Your gift will be separated from the community allocation process, shrinking the pool of funds available for distribution by the volunteer panels. When you designate a gift, United Way retains 12.5 percent of the amount collected on pledges to local Agency Partners in order to recover a portion of fundraising costs. United Way retains 10 percent of designated gifts to other Northeast Indiana United Ways/Funds.
Does United Way of Allen County fund abortion?
No. United Way invests in more than 60 programs and services in our community, none of which provide abortions; there are no plans to fund organizations or programs that engage in this practice. A list of funded agency partners is included in the campaign brochure
or is available here
Does United Way of Allen County fund charter schools?
No. Education reform issues, including those about charter schools, are being addressed by a wide range of stakeholders in the community and United Way of Allen County leadership does not believe this is our role. United Way funds partner programs or services, not entire agencies, organizations or schools.
What is United Way of Allen County’s Administrative Cost Percentage?
United Way of Allen County’s overhead is consistently under 20 percent. Better Business Bureau guidelines state that no more than 35 percent of an agency’s dollars be spent on administration, and United Way is well below that threshold. One of United Way’s primary functions is to raise money to support critical programming and fundraising requires staffing and overhead expenditures.
Perhaps a more telling way to examine administrative costs is by looking at United Way’s expenses. In the 2012 fiscal year, for every dollar spent by United Way of Allen County, 83.4 cents went to program services and expenses, 12 percent went to fundraising expenses and less than four percent went to management and general expenses.
The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide also states that charity finances are just one part of an agency’s accountability. Other standards such as governance, effectiveness, fundraising practices, website disclosures and donor privacy must also be considered. United Way of Allen County is Better Business Bureau Accredited and meets all 20 standards of charity accountability. All recent audits and 990s are online at http://unitedwayallencounty.org/financials.
Do all gifts to United Way of Allen County stay in Allen County?
After United Way of Allen County pays membership dues to United Way Worldwide (1%) and the Indiana association of United Ways (0.2%), all money raised during campaign stays in Allen County unless a donor has designated it to another United Way.