How do we choose who receives United Way funding?
We go to great lengths to seek the public’s input on the programs we fund. These strategic investments are determined through a wide-reaching community consultation process, and are supported by community data, including trends over time in Windsor-Essex County, a comparison to provincial data, and an assessment of where gaps in support may exist in the community.
During the last public consultation in 2014, we talked to almost 3,000 residents and community stakeholders. We want to hear from the community and donors and make them a part of our decision-making process. This new approach was adopted back in 2009.
Decisions are made by United Way’s volunteer Community Impact Council and our Board of Directors, who are representative of the Windsor and Essex County community at large. These volunteer leaders have expertise in various professional sectors.
Why can’t I designate my gift to one of the organizations you fund?
One of United Way’s roles in the community is to be able to identify the most urgent and critical needs in the community. There are a lot of good charities doing really good work, but they often don’t have the means to promote themselves. However, some charities have the means to do a lot of promotion. Donors often tend to respond to those promotions, and will want to designate their dollars. This could cause an imbalance in what gets funded and what doesn’t get funded. We understand what the needs are in the community – it’s important for many of these critical services that may not be highly promoted to get dollars as well. So, United Way’s role is to ensure that we address urgent needs in the community and that there are resources for the charities to do the work that needs to get done.
How much money actually goes back to programs in the community?
United Way works hard to remain accountable to the community through fundraising best practices and transparent reporting. Our fundraising costs are some of the lowest in the sector, according to independent sources. In total, 80.1 cents of every dollar is invested back in the community. The remaining monies are spent on direct fundraising costs (14.2 cents) and administration and salaries (5.7 cents).
Charity Intelligence, a Canadian watchdog organization, rates United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County four out of four stars for financially efficiency. We were rated against 400 Canadian charities.
What if I need help but there is no United Way-funded program to help me?
Just over a year ago, United Way established an Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF) that provides support directly to the individual. It came about as a result of donors reaching out for help and not being able to access it - historically United Way only funded agencies delivering programs. Now the EAF - the fund of last resort – is available, and if the individual qualifies, direct support is provided.
Do you fund any programs in the County?
In 2013-14 United Way helped 10,506 people in the county. Seventeen of our funded programs are delivered in county communities. One of United Way’s mandates is to ensure that, where appropriate, our partners have a strategy for delivering services to our county communities. You may not see our logo on a building, but through collaborative partnerships and sharing space and resources, United Way is there to help county residents.
If a program is no longer funded, what happens to the people who depend on the program?
During the transition, we work with agencies to see if there are other ways of meeting the needs of their clients, including consulting other funders and community partners. Donors entrust United Way to invest funds where they are most needed and can have maximum impact.
What types of things does United Way fund?
United Way has three priorities – reducing poverty, supporting kids and families, and strengthening neighbourhoods. United Way supports a variety of strategies that target these priorities. Programs we fund are delivered through not-for-profit community partners. United Way is non-partisan and non-religious, and services are available to all individuals regardless of affiliation. Thank you for your interest in United Way. There are many ways to get involved. We offer both short and long term volunteer opportunities, from getting involved in a workplace fundraising campaign, to volunteering on a committee, to participating in a Day of Caring through one of our partners or other community organizations in need of support. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
For additional questions, visit United Way Canada’s FAQ page