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  Straight Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  
Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to my favorite charity?
Why should I give an undesignated gift instead of choosing a specific agency?
  
  How can I be sure that the money I give really helps people who need it?
How much of my gift really goes to help people?
What's the advantage of giving through payroll deduction?
How much should I give?
What if I feel pressured to give?
Why isn't Boy Scouts a United Way agency?

Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to my favorite agency?
We all have special interests, and we would not ask you to support United Way at the expense of another charitable organization. But there are some problems here in the Upper Valley that cannot be solved by a single agency alone. United Way's coordinated planning and needs assessment programs ensure that your gift will be used wisely and effectively to meet our area's most critical needs as a whole.


Why should I give an undesignated gift instead of choosing a specific agency?
Many people prefer not to designate their gifts because they are primarily interested in helping people in need who often require assistance from more than a single agency. Undesignated pledges are used to help fund all 69 health and human-care services provided by United Way’s 28 member agencies here in the Upper Valley. Too many designated gifts, in fact, can mean that the pool of undesignated money available for all United Way agencies is smaller than it should be to meet priority needs and services. Nevertheless, the right to designate your gift is a choice United Way strongly believes you should have, should you want to exercise it.



How can I be sure that the money I give really helps people who need it?

You can rely on United Way’s well-trained volunteers to ensure that your gift is invested to make the greatest impact. Allocation amounts are determined by local volunteers, who carefully consider priority community needs, agency budget requests, performance, and available funding capabilities. Their recommendations are then reviewed and approved by United Way’s entire volunteer Board of Directors.



How much of my gift really goes to help people?

Approximately 85 cents of every dollar donated to United Way’s annual campaign goes directly to support agency services and other United Way programs that help people in need. Only about 15 cents helps support administrative and fundraising costs which, when added together with other non-campaign income, total about 19% of United Way’s total annual revenues. National charity watchdog organizations, meanwhile, report that 25 cents per dollar is average for operating costs, and that up to 40 cents is acceptable. United Way of the Upper Valley is consistently below the average, making efficient and effective use of your gifts to the annual campaign.

 


What’s the advantage of giving through payroll deduction?

Many people appreciate the convenience of making an automatic tax-deductible gift through regular payroll deduction. This allows them to consider a larger gift, paid over the course of the entire year, without also experiencing a significant reduction in their take-home pay.



How much should I give?
Giving to United Way is a personal matter, and sometimes it's hard to decide what an appropriate gift is. However, volunteers often suggest making a gift equal to one hour’s pay per month. This is simply a guideline because no one can or should tell you what to give. It should always be a personal choice based on your abilities and your concern for others. But remember, even a small gift each month through payroll deduction can make a big difference to someone in need.



What if I feel pressured to give?
No one should feel that they must contribute. This defeats the very idea of voluntary giving, which is the cornerstone on which United Way is built. We hope, however, that when you know the facts and realize the importance of United Way agency services in our local communities, you will decide to support United Way with a gift as generous as your abilities and concern for others will permit.


Why isn't Boy Scouts a United Way agency?
Much has been discussed recently about the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings about the Boy Scouts of America.  Several years ago, however, United Way of the Upper Valley was asked by local donors to review this same issue.  After significant study by representatives of its United Way member agencies, other area health and human-care organizations, and Upper Valley citizens at-large, the United Way's volunteer Board of Directors voted in 1993 to include sexual orientation (which has since become a protected class under state law in both New Hampshire and Vermont) to its anti-discrimination policy. The Board then gave member agencies two years to revise their own policies in order to comply with this policy and continue their local United Way membership.

By 1995, all member agencies of the United Way of the Upper Valley, with the exception of the Green Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts, had amended their by-laws accordingly. The Boy Scouts’ application for funding was thus unacceptable, and the agency’s membership in UWUV ended. Prior to that time Boy Scout chapters in New Hampshire had also withdrawn their memberships due to a conflict with other United Way policies, including restrictions on independent fundraising activities by member agencies.

As a result, area Boy Scout councils no longer participate in the allocation of undesignated gifts to our local United Way, which are restricted to member agencies only. Like any non-member agency, however, they continue to be eligible to receive specific donor designations made through United Way’s donor choice program.

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