frequently asked questions
We want you to feel confident in your decision to give to United Way. Take a look at our FAQs for more information. Have a question that's not listed below? Connect with your campaign director or you can always give us a call at 803.733.5400.
What is United Way?
United Way of the Midlands is a nonprofit that partners with other local nonprofits, businesses, donors, social service agencies to address our community’s most pressing needs. United Way provides direct services as well as oversees funding for other community initiatives.
Why is there a United Way?
For more than 90 years, United Way has been the community solutions provider. Donors have the confidence that their human service dollars go the furthest to do the most good, supporting many programs through one effort. Local volunteers use their knowledge of community problems to distribute funds where the needs are greatest. To make the best use of donor dollars, United Way holds agencies accountable for the programs they run, only funding programs with good results.
What counties are served by United Way of the Midlands?
United Way of the Midlands currently serves six counties: Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland.
What is United Way of the Midlands relationship with United Way Worldwide?
United Way of the Midlands is a separate, local organization governed by a local, volunteer Board of Directors. United Way Worldwide is a service association to which local United Ways may belong.
Why let United Way invest my donation?
By allowing United Way to invest your donation, you are ensuring that your gifts, combined with those of others, are going to address the most critical needs in the community. Only unrestricted gifts are available to put in United Way’s competitive grants. Through that process, local volunteers and experts who are knowledgeable about community problems determine the way to address priority needs, investing in proven programs with measurable results.
I don’t use any of the agencies’ programs, so why should I give through United Way?
When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. While you may not have school-age children, we all win when a child succeeds in school, when at-risk families become self-sufficient and when all our neighbors have good health. For example, when United Way expanded free dental services and serve more people, those individuals are less likely to seek treatment in emergency rooms reducing crowded lines and costs for everyone.
Doesn’t the government take care of these health and human service problems?
Human service delivery is a shared responsibility of both the public and nonprofit sectors. An excellent example of this partnership was the new Volunteer Income Tax Assistance project, which engaged United Way volunteers helping low-income, working families prepare income taxes for free and also apply for tax credits for which they were eligible but may not have been aware. Recent public sector budget cuts and increasing costs for fuel and food are resulting in even more people needing assistance. As a result, your gift through United Way is increasingly important because it stays in the community to address local needs.
Why should I give to United Way when I already give to my favorite charity?
Many of us have a favorite charity where we volunteer and that we support financially. A gift through United Way recognizes problems experienced by individuals, families and neighborhoods are rarely one-dimensional. Complex problems require complex solutions which frequently involve multiple partners providing program support to create lasting change. When you give through United Way, you are supporting multiple partners and comprehensive solutions.
How much of the money raised through United Way goes to provide services?
The percentage of total revenues generated by the organization that is being returned to the community through competitive grants, initiatives and donor directed funding is 85%.
Who pays for United Way’s special events?
Events held to thank and inspire volunteers and donors are paid for primarily by ticket sales and sponsorships.
How does giving work?
How much should I give?
Only you can decide how much you can give. United Way offers several giving and recognition opportunities. Many people elect to give 1% of their annual salary. Payroll deduction makes giving easier.
How do agencies receive their designations?
Designations to agencies are provided separately from any Community Impact awards distributed through agency programs. Designations are sent throughout the year after the campaign is closed and designation reports are completed.
Why a minimum of $50 for each agency?
Designations cost more money to process than contributions directly to the Community Impact Fund. Staff must take the time to verify that the organization meets non-profit, legal and ‘Patriot Act’ requirements. This must be performed each time the designation is paid. This $50 minimum helps us avoid spending your donation on processing costs.
If I stop working, what happens to my pledge?
Should you stop working, your payroll deduction pledge stops, too. Your pledge through United Way is made in good faith based upon your employment. When you start a new job, ask to sign up for payroll deduction again or call United Way for further details. If you are retiring, please contact United Way to continue your contributions and volunteer your time. You may even find you have more time to volunteer.
Why does United Way want to know my birth date and e-mail address?
United Way of the Midlands is taking steps to thank and inform people about the results of their contributions. Using your preferred e-mail address helps us to reduce postage and printing costs. We ask for your birth date to verify eligibility in our Young Leaders Society affinity group. In order to track our progress in attracting donors in this age group, we are now requesting birth dates from all donors. All of your information is kept confidential. United Way of the Midlands does not sell or give away any personal information to outside organizations.
What is United Way’s policy against pressuring employees to give?
United Way of the Midlands has a policy against coercion, and under no circumstances should an employee be threatened or coerced into contributing. Giving is a personal matter and a personal decision; whether people give and how much they choose to give is up to each individual. The purpose of United Way is to offer people an opportunity to care so that others can receive the help they need. We hope you will give because you are able to and because you feel good about it. Anyone who feels that they have been coerced into making a contribution, please contact our office at 803.733.5400 for a confidential refund.
How do I find information about services when I need help?
Just dial 2-1-1—United Way’s information and referral line. This 24-hour service provides information and referral to hundreds of programs available in the Midlands area.
How can I get involved as a volunteer?
Get volunteer information online or contact our Volunteer Center by phone at 803.758.6987. Opportunities include community-wide volunteer days, ongoing and one-time activities for groups or individuals.