FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT UNITED WAY
WHAT IS UNITED WAY?
The mission of Pueblo County United Way is "to develop donor resources to enhance the quality of life for the people of Pueblo County." United Way brings together a cross-section of citizens and agencies in a community-wide effort to provide human service programs in the most efficient and effective way. It works through various social service and health agencies in Pueblo, Pueblo West, Rye, Colorado City, Avondale, Boone and Beulah. The United Way is not just another fundraising campaign. It is the single largest voluntary effort, which supports essential health and human service agencies. It plans service priorities to meet future community needs and evaluate those services to be sure they meet high performance standards.
WHO REALLY BENEFITS?
You are a rare person if you or your family never use a United Way agency! Anyone who wishes to use a United Way agency can benefit: people who are disabled, elderly, disaster-stricken, teen-aged, who have emotional or marital problems and who seek recreational or volunteer activities. One in three families benefit from United Way services... senior services, food, rent/mortgage, mental health counseling, day care. If tragedy occurs, you can turn to United Way agencies to help. Agency services are geared toward helping people no matter what their income level. And, indirectly, we all benefit from living and working in a healthier, happier community.
WHY SHOULD I GIVE TO UNITED WAY?
Your gift improves the quality of life for you, your family, your neighbors and your community. You have access throughout your lifetime to the hundreds of vital health and social services not supplied by governmental sources. These services stabilize lives, reduce social problems, encourage productivity and increase the resources and prosperity of the entire community.
GET THE FACTS...UNITED WAY OF PUEBLO COUNTY & PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Questions have recently come to our attention regarding the Planned Parenthood discussion taking place across the country.
United Way of Pueblo County is one of 1,200 local United Ways throughout the United States and operates independently and autonomously, directing our own course based on community needs. Funding decisions are based on the direction given by our governing board and allocations committee, consisting of local, knowledgeable volunteers who make funding decisions based on needs in our community. United Way Worldwide does not dictate funding to local UWs, rather assists with marketing, training, and provides support on national company campaigns.
United Way of Pueblo County does not fund Planned Parenthood. Our donors do have the right to designate their funds to legal 501©3 organizations. If an individual donor chooses to designate their own personal contribution to Planned Parenthood, United Way of Pueblo County will honor that designation as we hold donor stewardship very highly. Planned Parenthood has not requested funds nor have any United Way of Pueblo County Community Care/allocations or grant dollars been used to fund Planned Parenthood. For a list of our funded agencies, please visit www.pueblounitedway.org/partners.
MY HUSBAND/WIFE GIVES WHERE HE/SHE WORKS. WHY SHOULD WE BOTH GIVE?
It’s important for every employed person to do his or her part in support of the United Way network of caring. Everyone has access to many of the United Way services vital to ensuring his or her continued productivity. Every worker has a responsibility to help maintain comprehensive United Way programs that enhance social and economic strength of our area which, in turn, support job stability for every wage earner.
WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD TO GIVE RIGHT NOW?
You don’t have to. Pledge your gift through payroll deduction and spread out small payments throughout the year. A small weekly amount adds up to an important part of the total campaign effort. United Way services need your year round support.
WHAT IF I LOSE MY JOB?
You will not be expected to continue your pledge payments during your period of unemployment. At the time of re-employment, you will be given the opportunity to reinstate your pledge.
I WORK IN PUEBLO, BUT LIVE ELSEWHERE--WHERE DO I GIVE?
The United Way philosophy is that you give where you work. Persons living outside Pueblo, but earning a living here are eligible for the services of the United Way agencies. The Pueblo County United Way supports agencies in the area. And, if you live outside the county you choose to designate your gift to an organization where you live.
ARE LABOR AND MANAGEMENT BOTH BEHIND THE UNITED WAY CAMPAIGN?
Yes, labor organizations and members work with management to make the campaign a success. All levels of business and labor are represented on United Way committees.
DOES UNITED WAY ALLOW COERCION IN ITS CAMPAIGN?
Pueblo County United Way is totally opposed to any type of coercion. That would defeat the very idea of voluntary giving. Your United Way gift is a personal matter and a personal decision. Whether you choose to give and how much you give is up to you. No action, which is coercive, is acceptable.
I HAVE A COMPLAINT: SOMEONE I KNOW DIDN’T RECEIVE HELP FROM A UNITED WAY AGENCY.
Get the facts...names, dates all the pertinent information...then call United Way. All complaints will be checked out thoroughly. No one who needs help is ever deliberately turned down. Over the years, we have found through careful investigation, that many complaints are usually misunderstandings that can be resolved. Occasionally, however, there are cases where an agency has been allocated only enough funds to assist a specific number of persons, and the budget simply cannot be stretched any further.
WHAT ABOUT THE AMOUNT I GIVE?
What you give is your decision. The Pueblo County United Way believes giving is a personal decision; whether individuals wish to give and how much they give are decisions left up to the individual. If you are one of those extra-generous donors giving more than the fair share giving guideline suggestions of their business then United Way agencies thank you, and urge you to maintain your special financial support.
WHY DO SOME UNITED WAY AGENCIES CHARGE FEES?
Fees are generally adjusted according to ability to pay. This stretches your United Way dollars as far as possible and allows many more people to receive assistance. While resources may limit some services, no one is refused service because of inability to pay.
WHY DO UNITED WAY AGENCIES CONDUCT SEPARATE FUNDRAISING DRIVES?
United Way allocations provide only part of an agency’s budget. Therefore, agencies must raise other funds in order to provide their services. Also, since United Way funds only go toward funding programs and not administration or capital budgets, agencies conduct their own fundraising for operations and capital fund campaigns for building construction and major renovations. Dramatic growth in the United Way campaign would permit agencies to do less of their own fundraising. United Way is the most cost effective way to support agencies.
WHO CHECKS ON THE MONEY TO MAKE SURE IT IS PROPERLY SPENT?
Dozens of experienced volunteers, knowledgeable of local needs, monitor agencies and make sure your money is well spent, this is the Allocations committee. We call this our Community Fund program.
WHY AREN’T ALL AGENCIES INCLUDED IN THE UNITED WAY CAMPAIGN?
Those that render a needed social service may have been invited, but some have decided not to join United Way. Perhaps other agencies failed to meet standards for admission as United Way member agencies. Others have simply not been funded because the campaign has not raised enough money. Volunteers have tough decisions to make as they allocate limited dollars in a prioritized way. All not-for-profit health and human service agencies should be considered part of the campaign since donors have the option to designate their gifts to non-United Way agencies.
HOW DO I KNOW MY PLEDGE REALLY GOES TO HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST?
Since most of us don’t have time to evaluate all the worthwhile causes that ask our help, the Allocation committee volunteers serve as our representatives. They make sure the necessary services are available in our area and that those who need help most can get it.
HOW MUCH OF THE MONEY GOES TO FUNDRAISING COSTS?
Under 10 percent goes to fundraising and administration. Compare this with other drives where much more of the actual amount raised has gone for fundraising costs. The nationally accepted standard for fundraising and administrative costs is 40 percent. United Way is the most efficient and effective way to help people. It’s planned, it’s budgeted and it’s fair to the people in the community. Less than one cent on every dollar leaves Pueblo County for United Way of America dues, as 99% stays here helping in our community.
IS THERE A DUPLICATION OF SERVICES AMONG AGENCIES?
To be admitted to United Way, an agency must perform a unique service and meet standards that will not permit duplication. United Way funds specific programs of agencies. One key item our Allocations committee volunteers examine is whether or not programs are necessary.
WHY DOES UNITED WAY ALWAYS NEED MORE MONEY?
Local United Way supported agencies face several challenges and therefore are requesting additional support. One critical challenge today is the decrease in government funding of social services and a long term downward trend in the economy. Many would agree that the private sector can fund these services more cost efficiently; United Way provides that opportunity.
MAY I DESIGNATE MY GIFT THROUGH UNITED WAY?
Yes, our donor choice program allows contributors to specify how their contribution will be spent.
WHY SHOULD I GIVE TO UNITED WAY INSTEAD OF DIRECTLY TO AGENCIES I CHOOSE?
No single agency can meet all community needs. The United Way supports a wide variety of agencies providing essential services. United Way planning and the coordination of services gets the most out of your contributed dollar. Also, most employers allow you to use payroll deduction to make your pledge. This allows you to spread your pledge out and probably afford to give more than if you were to make a single gift. Some companies match your gift as well.
HOW DO I KNOW THE MONEY IS REALLY NEEDED?
Experienced volunteers, knowledgeable of local needs, ensure your gift goes where it’s really needed through our Community Fund program. In nearly every case, they make a difficult decision between what agencies need and what the community can afford.
CAN I GIVE TO A NON-MEMBER AGENCY?
Yes. The United Way of Pueblo County honors all designations as long as the agency is a legal, 501(c)3 organization. A minimum gift of $52 per agency is required to keep the administration and overhead at or near 10%.
WHY HAS UNITED WAY STARTED THEIR OWN PROGRAM?
United Way of Pueblo County is not only a fundraising organization, but also a community problem solving entity as well. When there is a specific need in the community United Way makes an effort to address this issue. The lack of assistance with a one-on-one mentoring program and tax assistance services prompted us to take on these needs. The United Way of Pueblo County Middle School Mentoring Program and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program stand as shining examples of United Way of Pueblo County working to address emerging needs without duplicating services already being be provided in the community.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Volunteers stretch donated dollars. If you would like to volunteer, but don’t know where your services can do the most good, call the United Way at 225-8580. They can match you with a United Way agency that truly needs your help.