Everything you wanted to know about United Way California Capital Region and more, from fundraising methods to nonprofit affliliations.
Who is United Way California Capital Region?
Now in our 90th year, we are an independent local affiliate of United Way Worldwide serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. Since 1923, we have raised more than $450 million for the regional nonprofit community while helping hundreds of regional employers maximize their corporate social responsibility programs.
Who runs United Way California Capital Region?
We do—the board and staff of this United Way (you can find our names in the “About” section of this website). Although we share a national “brand” with hundreds of other United Ways across the country, UWCCR is not just a branch office. Each United Way is an independent local nonprofit. We have 25 employees and are governed by a board of directors composed of local volunteers representing our regional community.
What do you do?
Since 1923, we have worked with hundreds of employers in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo Counties to help them maximize their social responsibility investment while offering their employees the ability to give to whatever cause they are passionate about through payroll deduction. And when donors direct their gifts to us, rather than through us, we use them to get measurable results on three key issues: high school graduation rates, household financial stability and obesity reduction.
How does United Way help my community?
There are so many ways it is hard to know where to begin. We help employers in the region get the most out of their investment in community engagement. We help their employees get the most out of individual philanthropy by enabling them to give to the cause of their choice through payroll deduction. We help the nonprofit community get more support, both financial and volunteer. And we help the community by driving measurable results on key issues such as high school graduation rates, household financial stability and obesity reduction through the Community Impact projects we design and fund.
Why consult United Way on community engagement?
For 90 years, we have worked with the leading regional and national employers—public and private; organizations that do a great job at community engagement. Whether a company needs help developing a complete community engagement strategy, or just needs help implementing/fine-tuning one it has already developed, our staff can help. We know the community and we know community engagement.
Why donate through United Way instead of just giving directly?
If you would prefer to give directly to your favorite organization, please do. The most important thing is that you give, not how you give. The people who give through United Way tend to do so for two reasons: 1) They appreciate the convenience of being able to give through payroll deduction, and 2) They find they can afford to do a lot more to support their favorite causes when they can do it by having just a little bit taken out of each paycheck instead of having to give all the money at once.
Do I have to give to United Way or can I decide who gets my gift?
We believe in donor choice. It is your money. You get to choose where it goes—and you can choose to make gifts to more than one organization. Hopefully you will agree that our work in the areas of high school graduation rates, household financial stability and obesity reduction are worthy of your consideration as you decide how to make your gift. But regardless of your choice(s), we will make sure your gift goes to the organization(s) you want to support.
Do all of your Certified Partner Agencies get a part of my gift?
No. Donors want to be able to see that their gifts produce a real outcome, not just a nice warm feeling. You can’t show measurable outcomesif all you are doing is divvying up a pot of money among a bunch of nonprofits. So we created a process we call Community Impact that gets measurable results on specific issues—like high school graduation rates. Some of our partner agencies have capabilities for addressing such issues and get grants from United Way to work on our projects—like Fit Kids.Others don’t. Right now, only about 20 of our 150 partner agencies get grants to work on one of our three projects. The rest get only what donors direct to them.
What are United Way’s Community Impact projects?
Our efforts are focused in three areas: high school graduation rates, household financial stability and obesity reduction. Our STAR Readers project is increasing the number of kids who test “proficient” or better on the STAR Test, which is administered at the end of third grade. Kids who don’t do well on the STAR Test are much more likely to drop out. Our $en$e-Ability project is improving household financial stability by teaching adults and foster youth how to work with the mainstream financial system, how to use credit, how to budget and how to build assets for the future. And our Fit Kids project is reducing childhood and adult obesity by teaching kids how to eat healthier and lead a more active lifestyle.
How did you choose these issues to focus on?
We used a very data-driven process that included a multi-county needs assessment, multiple town hall and regional meetings and a blue-ribbon task force of community volunteers. From all of that input, our volunteer leadership developed recommended focus areas and later formulated specific projects designed to have measurable outcomes because today’s donor wants to see that his/her contribution actually produces a beneficial outcome.
Do you provide direct services or make grants to individuals?
No. We are not a service provider and we do not grant or loan money to individuals. People in need of non-emergency assistance should contact InfoLine at (916) 498-1000 or 2-1-1 if they are in Sacramento County.
How does United Way raise money?
The vast majority of the money we raise comes from individual donors whose forward-thinking employers partner with us to offer their employees the opportunity to give to the nonprofit of their choice through payroll deduction. Additionally, sometimes the companies themselves make contributions. We also occasionally receive grants, bequests and other kinds of gifts.
How much does your United Way raise?
As you would expect, given the economic challenges our region has faced over the past four or five years, the amount has dropped from a little over $14 million per year to about $12 million.
Which local companies support United Way?
Hundreds of local private and public sector employers work with us. There is a list of our largest supporters in our annual report, which is available elsewhere on this website.
How are our local United Way and United Way Worldwide related?
UWCCR is one of about 1,200 independent local affiliates of United Way Worldwide—licensed to serve Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. We are not just a chapter or branch office. Our local board governs our United Way. We pay dues to United Way Worldwide and receive support services from it.
Why isn’t Boy Scouts one of your partner agencies?
In order to be one of our Certified Partner Agencies, a nonprofit must sign a statement saying that it does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, religion, ethnicity or sexual preference. The Boy Scouts won’t sign that statement. However, people can still give to the Boy Scouts through our various campaigns—and they do. Every year our local Boy Scouts Council receives thousands of dollars of designated gifts through us.
Does United Way fund Planned Parenthood?
No. Planned Parenthood is not one of our Certified Partner Agencies and sois not eligible to receive any grantfunding from us. In fact, they have never applied to be a partner agency. However, as is true of all IRS-recognized 501c3 organizations, donors can designate individual gifts to Planned Parenthood through our campaigns and we will deliver those gifts per the donor’s instructions.
How is your United Way associated with the NFL?
We don’t have a relationship. The NFL – United Way partnership, which is the longest-running public service advertising campaign and sports/charity partnership of its kind, is managed by United Way Worldwide. All NFL representatives appearing in United Way ads are volunteers who receive no compensation. The NFL pays for production costs and airtime. There is no cost to local United Ways for the spots.
Where does my money go?
The quick answer: Wherever you want it to go. You can choose to give to United Way projects like STAR Readers that get great results, to a local nonprofit certified by United Way or to any federally tax-exempt 501c3 organization anywhere in the U.S. We provide you with the data you need to make an informed choice, and you decide where your donations go.
Do United Way dollars leave the region?
Only if a donor tells us to send the money to another area. Donors can give to any IRS-recognized 501c3 organization anywhere in the United States through our United Way. But gifts given toour United Way are invested in projects focused on achieving measurable improvements for high school graduation rates, household financial stability and obesity reduction in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.
What is United Way’s overhead?
Our current overhead ratio is 19.04 percent.
Is United Way’s overhead higher than that of other nonprofits?
That depends on which other nonprofit you’re talking about—but in most cases the answer would be no. (You can see our overhead ratio and the overhead ratio of each of our Certified Partner Agencies if you click on “Search for Nonprofits” at the top of this page.) We also put the information on our pledge forms. At 19.04%, we are well within the range people like the Better Business Bureau say is acceptable (35% or less).
Do you charge me a fee if I give to the nonprofit of my choice?
No. We do not charge fees to donors or employers. We do deduct a small amount (usually about 15%) from a gift before passing it on to a designated nonprofit. This covers our cost of raising the money and making sure it gets to where to donor wants it to go. Often the fee amounts to much less than it would have cost the recipient nonprofit to raise the money itself.
What can I do if I feel I was forced to give through United Way?
We absolutely do not condone coercion of any kind. Philanthropy is a voluntary act. If you feel you were forced to give, you should go to your human resources department and ask to have your pledge canceled. If you are not comfortable doing that, please contact us. Once we verify that we have received money from you, we will refund it and we will work with your employer to have the payroll deduction process stopped. We will also council the employer to be more careful.