1.What is United Way?
United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties is a fund-raiser and distributor… but it’s also much more than that. The critical needs of our community require more than just quick fixes. In this new era, we must work together with our partners in the community to realize a shared vision for change. In turn, we allow for new partners, new collaborations, and new resources, while bringing our community together to focus on issues and build solutions that will continue improve lives. No single group can address the complex problems that matter most. That is why United Way partners with 70 agencies in the community that are leading the way to address the issues that matter most in our community by improving lives and delivering meaningful results. Last year, United Way supported agencies, programs and initiatives helped improve the lives of more than 300,000 people in our community.
2.How do I contribute?
The easiest way for you to contribute is through payroll deduction. Instead of giving one lump sum, you simply donate a set amount each pay period. By the end of a year, you will have truly donated a lot but with very little impact on your regular budget. United Way also accepts checks, credit cards, and gifts of appreciated stock as forms of donations.
3.Will I ever use United Way services?
United Way funded services help everyone. It is a popular misconception that only the homeless and truly "at risk" seek help from United Way partner agencies. Working people have problems and needs too – hurricane relief, marital problems, child care needs, alcohol and drug abuse problems, troubled teens, and aging parents - and United Way services are available to all. Also, many popular recreational agencies such as the YMCA and Scouting programs receive United Way funding. Your friends, your neighbors, and your family may need and use United Way partner agencies or programs - one in three people in our community use these services every year.
4.How much of my donation goes to services versus administrative costs?
Ninety cents of every dollar collected goes directly back into the community. United Way is one of the most effective and efficient resources for making a philanthropic investment. With administrative and fundraising costs at 10 percent, we are well below the national standard for nonprofit organizations, which is around 25 percent.
5.Will I feel pressured to give?
United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties staff and Board of Directors has taken a formal position that does not condone any form of coercion. Whether the decision is about giving at all or how much to give, it should remain a personal decision. We believe that if people are aware of the good work that United Way and our network of agencies do in our community, they will be more than willing to voluntarily give their support.
6.How does United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties hold itself accountable?
The most valuable asset we have is the trust and confidence people have in our ability to meet community needs. We maintain the highest standards. We are a completely transparent organization and believe that it is the responsibility of our organization to be accountable to the community for every dollar raised and spent. Our United Way is audited each year by an independent accounting firm who ensures that we are in compliance with generally accepted accounting procedures and the law. One of the benefits of contributing to the United Way is that you know where your money goes.
7.I know United Way is a local agency, but don’t some of the dollars go to the national agency, United Way of America?
Our United Way and all United Ways are completely autonomous; locally governed, organized and operated. We are a member of United Way of America, which is a national organization that functions much like a trade associations and provides support to help local United Ways. Each United Way is a `member of United Way of America and pays dues equal to less than 1 percent of the amount raised during the annual campaign. Our United Way pays the dues from our small investment income account. This account exists from donors who pay us up front at the beginning of the campaign. In return, we receive national NFL advertising, research, access to national organizations with coordinated fundraising, and training credits for volunteers and staff worth many times more than this minimal investment.
8.Who decides how my contribution is spent and how carefully are agency expenditures monitored?
Volunteers like you decide how much is allocated to each agency. Every year, through the Allocations process, Leaders from all segments of our community work together so they can review each agency's programs and budget. These volunteers assure contributors that every dollar is spent wisely. An important element of United Way agency admissions is sound fiscal management with efficient and effective services. This is ensured on a continuing basis by volunteer review of financial reports, annual audits, and agency site visits. If you would like to be involved with the Allocations process please contact the United Way office.
9.I prefer to support one or two agencies directly. Why should I contribute to the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties?
Many people in our community contribute both to the United Way and to particular agencies. They contribute to the United Way to ensure there is a safety net of health and human services to assist people. Some donors chose to designate up to half of their gift to a specific agency by indicating so on their pledge card. Donor designation is provided as a service to our donors for their convenience; however it is not something we encourage. Our purpose is to support and strengthen the entire network of human services. United Way’s greatest strength is the ability to allow donors to address a broad range of human service needs in their own community with one single gift.
10.What is United Way 211?
United Way 211 is a program that provides free information and referral to health and human service agencies within Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties. United Way 211 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by dialing 211 from a land line phone or by calling 239-433-3900 in Lee and 863-675-8383 in Hendry and Glades from a cell phone. During times of natural disasters United Way 211 becomes the official storm hotline for Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. United Way 211 exists to help people navigate their way through the maze of health and human service agencies by providing the most adequate, up-to-date resources for the client’s situation. You can also volunteer by calling United Way 211.
Copyright © 2007
United Way of Lee County
7273 Concourse Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33908