Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is United Way and how long has the organization been in Marathon County?
A. United Way brings together our community (people, businesses, government, and non-profit organizations) to address our most pressing human service problems. United Way focuses on education, income and health -- the building blocks of a good life. “United Way” refers to United Way of Marathon County. Each United Way in the country operates independently while following some standard certification and accountability requirements of United Way Worldwide. Our local United Way organized in 1930, 82 years ago.
Q. What does United Way do to build and strengthen our community?
A. There are EIGHT major ways we do this:
- Individual and corporate donations allow us to invest in grants to local partner programs that get results on our priority goal areas. A group of volunteers make these decisions after becoming very knowledgeable on the issues and local programs. (There is a list on the web site of these goals and program investments.)
- We hold partner programs accountable by monitoring goals and costs of programs to ensure they make an impact on our priority goals.
- We take action to lead or participate in groups working to develop evidence based practices that offer solutions needed in our community.
- We monitor local data and trends and set a community priority agenda. We then work to bring people together to address these issues. (The LIFE report was released in January 2012 and is on our web site.)
- We engage people through volunteering on committees, in the office, at events, and Women In Action and Emerging Leaders activities. (Find out more on the website.)
- We connect people to services and to give and get help through United Way’s 2-1-1, Volunteer Connection and RSVP—a 55 plus volunteer program. These core services of United Way share resources to efficiently provide support to individuals and organizations throughout our community. (To find help, or get connected call 2-1-1 or search our web site.)
- We provide free fiscal and administrative services to community groups working for the common good, like Workplace Volunteer Council and Ready to Read.
- We leverage resources beyond campaign by writing for grants, expanding volunteerism, and holding events which increase collective action toward achieving progress on goals.
Q. What is an example of how United Way is making a difference in our community?
A. Here is one example: The Marathon County Hunger Coalition is an initiative of United Way. Members of the coalition represent non-profits, business, government and schools. Some of their accomplishments include:
- Obtained grants to purchase a walk-in cooler and freezer to store perishable food donations, increasing the amount of nutritional food available to pantries
- Increased number of collaborative food and fund drives for area food pantries
- Obtained grants and supported fundraisers to meet growing needs and continue the Coalition’s collaborative efforts
Q. Who owns United Way?
A. You do! United Way is owned and operated by and for our community. Donors are members who elect the Board of Directors. We belong to a broad network of United Ways but we are locally governed and controlled. Only 1% of our campaign revenue is paid in dues to United Way Worldwide for services, much like association dues. All other revenues stay in our community.
Q. How much is United Way’s overhead or administrative cost?
A. United Way keeps its costs lower than most other charity organizations returning 88 cents of each dollar we collect to programs and services helping people in need. That compares to the national guideline of at least 60 cents by the National Charities Information Bureau.
Q. How can I direct my United Way gift to a specific cause or to another community?
A. United Way offers donors the option to send their gift to another United Way and no service fees are charged. Donors may select or designate a priority category of education, income or health, OR they can list a specific United Way funded program. (For a list of funded programs, visit our website.)
Q. How can I stay connected to United Way?
A. United Way reports progress and provides opportunities for you to get involved. The best way to stay connected to United Way is to sign up for our e-newsletter. Visit our web site for the latest news and to subscribe to our e-newsletter. UnitedWayMC.org
Q. Does United Way invest in programs covering all geographic areas of Marathon County?
A. Absolutely! United Way invests in dozens of programs serving the entire county. (For a list of investments by community, see our campaign resource page on the website)
Q. What if I hear something and don’t have an answer about United Way?
A. There are sometimes misperceptions or false information out there. We encourage you to contact us because the more people know about us, the more they like us. Email us at email@example.com or call us at (715) 848-2927.
OTHER BRIEF DEFINITIONS:
Coalition - a group of individuals and organizations that set a common goal and action plan to improve a community issue.
Collaboration - organizations working together on a program toward a common goal.
Emerging Leaders - a giving community of young professionals committed to connecting, serving and leading to better our community.
E-pledge- a way for employees to pledge at a computer during their company campaign.
LIVE UNITED - United Way’s call to action to Give, Advocate, Volunteer.
Loyal donor - an individual with 10 years or more of giving to United Way.
NFL Partnership - For nearly 40 years the NFL has supported United Way and donated advertising.
Partner program or organization - groups that receive United Way grants.
Summit League - a giving community recognizing individuals or couples giving $600 or more.
Tax deduction - gifts are tax deductable, keep a record of your pledge payments.
Women In Action - a giving community of women who are taking action on priority issues by engaging, advocating and networking.
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