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Top Myths About United Way
My gifts do not stay in my local community.
Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. United Way is one of the most local of all national charities in terms of its governing body and operations. A vast majority of campaign dollars are raised in our three county service area. With the exception of 1% of campaign revenue that we are required to send to United Way of America, .3% of campaign revenue that we voluntarily sent to Ohio United Way, and a fraction of gifts (average of 1.3%) that donors designate to charities outside our service area, all dollars raised in our community stay in our community. For more information on national dues and our relationship to United Way Worldwide, click here.
Too much of my gift is used for overhead and not enough gets to the charitable causes that I want to support.
Our local office uses only 14% of the Campaign Total to support its administrative and fund raising efforts. Additionally, our overall organizational overhead rate for fiscal year 2009-2008 was 19.61%. This rate was confirmed by an independent auditor during our annual audit. For more information on campaign dollars that are used to support local office administration and fund raising expenses, click here. For more information on campaign dollars that are used to support local office programs, click here. Each year, we are able to maintain these low overhead rates thanks to the thousands of hours of service given by hard-working volunteers. The value of their service is estimated to be worth over $140,000 annually.
United Way doesn’t support what I believe in.
Since each local United Way is a separate 501(c)(3) organization that is locally controlled and governed, each United Way reflects the values of that particular community. Sometimes a United Way in another city or state may have funded a cause or a charity that many people in our community would not support. They don’t need to worry that their gifts will go to that charity. Their gifts, like all United Way gifts, will stay in the community where they are raised. For example, while United Way is not a faith-based organization, in Muskingum, Perry and Morgan Counties, over a third of the money we distribute each year is invested in organizations like the Salvation Army, Eastside Community Ministry, Catholic Social Services, and Christ’s Table. The money we distribute to these partners is given to specifically support the social service outreaches of these organizations. In Muskingum County, the United Way is the single largest private founder of faith-based social services.
United Way coerces people to give.
Many employers, in a well-meaning attempt to support our community, still encourage 100% United Way giving among all employees. This unfortunate practice, while rooted in good intentions, has caused some people to give a gift to United Way even though they had no personal desire to do so. Over time people can even come to believe that United Way encourages this practice and is more concerned about fund raising than it is "friend raising." This myth is absolutely false. Our local United Way realizes that our greatest resources are relationships and mutual trust that we have with community members. Money is secondary to relationships when it comes to accomplishing our mission of improving lives. For this reason, we adhere to the United Way’s Policy Against Coercion, to download, click here.
Why give to United Way instead of a specific agency?
An investment to the United Way will assure the availability of an entire network of human services. For example, a homeless family needs food, clothing, and shelter. If you give to a specific agency you can make this happen. But, what if the family also needs job training, daycare, and counseling to leave the shelter? No one agency can meet all the needs of this family. United Way makes sure all these services are available, from the temporary bed to the long-term solution.
I don't have a lot to give, can I make an impact?
YES you can! No matter how much you choose to invest, you will be helping to improve the lives of families in Muskingum, Perry, and Morgan Counties. Your investment is joined by many others to support a network of programs and partnerships that produces outcomes.