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Frequently Asked Questions2020-06-27T21:57:58-05:00

Have a question? Start here. Don’t see an answer? Give us a call at (316) 267-1321.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is United Way of the Plains?2021-09-14T14:30:15-05:00

United Way of the Plains is a local, volunteer-driven organization that brings together people and resources from across the community to tackle the issues that matter most. Whether that means building partnerships, advocacy, fundraising, grant writing or bringing people together around focused issues—that’s what United Way does. Learn more about what we do.

Who runs our local United Way?2021-09-14T14:31:21-05:00

Our United Way is a local organization run by community volunteers who determine all policies, procedures and decisions. We are completely autonomous from United Way Worldwide. These dedicated volunteers, with support from United Way’s professional staff, oversee every aspect of the organization. Community leaders monitor and govern United Way’s financial operations and ensure that funds are prudently managed. Volunteers from the community lead the annual fundraising campaign. Diverse groups of volunteers – often ordinary citizens – serve on the Grant Review Committee that focuses on allocating funds to local programs. Meet our Board of Directors.

How large is the United Way system?2021-09-14T14:32:09-05:00

The United Way system includes approximately 1,800 community-based United Way organizations in the United States and in other countries. Each is independent, separately incorporated, and governed by local volunteers. In total, voluntary contributions to United Ways support thousands of agencies and chapters, helping millions of people from all walks of life and income groups. Apart from government, United Ways support the greatest variety of health and human services in the country.

What is United Way Worldwide?2021-09-14T14:32:52-05:00

United Way Worldwide (previously United Way of America) is the global service and training center, supporting its members with services that include advertising, training, corporate relations, research, networks and government relations. Our United Way is a local organization run by community volunteers who determine all policies, procedures and decisions. We are completely autonomous from United Way Worldwide. United Way Worldwide is governed by a volunteer board. The first national service center was established in 1918.

I already give to my favorite charity. Why should I support the United Way Community Fund?2021-09-14T14:34:04-05:00

There are two main reasons:

  • Most of us have organizations we support because we know something about them. With United Way you can also support programs that address needs you know very little or nothing about. United Way volunteers monitor community needs and support programs and collaborations to address those needs.
  • United Way is unique. It does more than fund a wide variety of agency programs—United Way also convenes groups of organizations around issues, recruits volunteers for nonprofit organizations, provides an information and referral service (United Way 211), and provides a gift-in-kind program that arranges for product donations to go to local nonprofits for free.

FUNDING QUESTIONS

What types of programs does United Way fund?2021-09-14T14:34:53-05:00

We look at problems in our community that need solved, the people that need help and the local programs that can meet those needs best. We focus on funding programs in the areas of:

  • Health: Providing access to quality services so all can get – and stay – healthy.
  • Education: Helping children enter school ready to learn, achieve at grade level and graduate on time.
  • Financial Stability: Empowering adults with the tools needed to ensure fiscal stability.
How does United Way decide which agencies to fund?2021-09-14T14:35:43-05:00

Local agencies are given the opportunity to submit Letters of Intent which present an agency’s interest in applying for funding. Volunteers review the Letters of Intent and approve programs to submit applications for funding which include program outcomes. Approximately 150 volunteers then evaluate the applications—looking at the high-priority needs in our community and an agency’s ability to meet one or more of those needs. Each agency funded by United Way must adhere to high standards, which is your assurance of quality and efficiency. Each agency must:

  • Be recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit organization [501(c)3].
  • Be governed by a volunteer board of directors.
  • Provide for a human care need.
  • Be audited annually by a CPA firm.
  • Operate at a reasonable cost.
Does United Way fund abortion services?2021-09-14T14:36:13-05:00

No. United Way of the Plains funds are not used to perform abortions or to provide counseling or advocacy for abortion. Likewise, no funds are used to provide anti-abortion counseling or advocacy. United Way represents a neutral ground where people can join together for the greater good of the community.

What does United Way do besides raise money?2021-09-14T14:39:28-05:00

United Way of the Plains works year-round to make our community a better place to live and work. United Way does this in many ways, including:

  • Operating United Way 211 Information and Referral service that connects people to nonprofit and government human services with an easy-to-remember phone number (dial 2-1-1 toll free, statewide). Callers can find needed services or volunteer opportunities. Information also available by searching online at 211kansas.org, texting your ZIP Code to 898-211 or chatting live with a referral specialist at unitedwayplains.org/211.
  • Promoting volunteerism and youth involvement throughout the community through United Way Volunteer Center.
  • Operating the Give Items of Value program which accepts donated items from companies and offers them at no charge to nonprofits.
  • Fostering a love of reading in preschool children through funding Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program mails a free, age-appropriate book monthly to children until they turn five years old.
  • Researching and planning for community needs.
  • Reviewing United Way agencies and community needs to direct funds where they will do the most good. Learn more at unitedwayplains.org/grant-review.
  • Providing feet on the ground and a supportive presence to lead long-term recovery when disasters and devastating events strike communities across our state. Learn more at unitedwayplains.org/disaster-response.
  • Collaborating with community groups to study challenges and work toward solutions.

Learn more about what we do.

Who does United Way fund?2020-08-23T20:37:35-05:00

Learn more about the local programs we fund.

What is the Community Fund?2021-09-14T15:20:50-05:00

The Community Fund is the title for all the undesignated donations we receive. Your gift joins thousands of other contributions to change the odds for countless individuals and families in our region. Through your undesignated gift to the Community Fund:

  • United Way will continue to support individual agency programs that have addressed tremendous needs in our community. They will be funded through our traditional process of reviewing grant requests from local agencies and setting aside funds for specific programs. See who we fund.
  • United Way will continue to run innovative programs such as:
    • 211 Information and Referral: 24/7 free helpline that connects people to food, shelter, and other vital services.
    • Volunteer Center: The Volunteer Center can match your interests and talents with the needs of nonprofit organizations in Wichita and south central Kansas.
    • Give Items of Value: Companies donate items that are made available to area nonprofits for free.
    • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: preschool children receive free, age-appropriate books each month until they turn five years old.
  • United Way will expand its collective impact work.
What is collective impact work?2021-09-14T15:21:31-05:00

Sometimes community-level problems are beyond the scope of any one organization or even service sector. To remedy such problems, United Way of the Plains has adopted a unique problem-solving approach called collective impact. Through collective impact work, United Way acts as a convener organization to bring cross-sector partners together, including nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, businesses, labor, foundations, cities, government entities and donors. Together, we tackle our most pressing challenges and take advantage of our biggest opportunities. Collective impact requires that partners work together to:

  • create a vision and set goals
  • align programs and strategies
  • track and share data to measure success
  • and continuously communicate among partners.

DONOR OPTION QUESTIONS

What is the donor option policy?2021-09-14T15:22:30-05:00

You can designate a contribution to any local, human service 501(c)3 organization that meets United Way policies by writing the name and address of the organization on your pledge form. A minimum gift of $100 per nonprofit is required. Economy of scale helps us effectively fundraise for many area nonprofits. Giving through United Way reduces costly and time-consuming fundraising efforts for those agencies, so their time can be spent helping those in need.

Where can I find more information about donor option?2020-08-23T20:50:20-05:00

Read our full Donor Designation Policy.

ADMINISTRATIVE QUESTIONS

What is United Way’s overhead costs for fundraising and administration?2021-09-14T15:24:41-05:00

United Way’s volunteer system keeps overhead costs for fundraising and administration to a minimum. Approximately 84 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to help local people in need. Compare that to expensive fundraising events, which often raise less than 50 cents per dollar for charitable causes. This overhead is lower than most charities and much lower than the Better Business Bureau’s guideline of 35 percent or less for overhead.

Where does my donation go when I give to United Way?2021-09-14T15:26:02-05:00

Your donation stays local. Donations raised during the fundraising campaign are used to fund more than 80 programs at local, nonprofit agencies beginning the following year. Donations also support United Way’s collective impact work and direct services: United Way Volunteer Center, United Way 211 Information and Referral, and Give Items of Value (GIV) Program (a gift-in-kind program). Because United Way’s overhead and administration costs are so low, you know your donation is reaching those who need help most.

How do I know my donation is used effectively?2020-08-23T21:05:54-05:00

Every three years, United Way researches the needs in our community, asking thousands of people throughout the community what issues affect their homes, families and jobs. This information and other research is shared with approximately 150 grant review volunteers who monitor agencies and make sure your money is well spent.

How can I give to United Way?2020-08-23T20:57:02-05:00

We offer a variety of ways for donors to support our work. View the many ways you can give.

Is my donation tax-deductible?2020-06-29T14:47:20-05:00

United Way of the Plains is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 charity. As such, contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Did the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)” that was passed in 2017, and became effective on Jan. 1, 2018, eliminate charitable giving as a tax deduction?2020-06-29T14:47:08-05:00

No. With respect to charitable deductions, TCJA most notably raised the standard deduction levels and increased the maximum charitable deduction that can be claimed in a given year by individuals that itemize deductions. We encourage you to visit with your tax advisor on how the new legislation may impact your personal tax situation as it relates to charitable giving.

I don’t live in Sedgwick County. Why should I give to United Way of the Plains?2020-06-29T14:46:57-05:00

United Way funded programs not only serve residents of Sedgwick County, but also the seven surrounding counties: Butler, Cowley, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Reno and Sumner.

My workplace doesn’t run a United Way campaign. How can we get involved?2020-08-23T20:54:55-05:00

Give us a call at (316) 267-1321 or visit our corporate hub. We’d love to work with you to start a United Way campaign.

I feel pressured to give at my workplace. What should I do?2021-01-06T11:19:28-06:00

Giving should always be a personal matter and decision, free from coercion. We don’t want campaigns using undue pressure in any way, shape or form. That’s not who we are, and it’s in direct conflict with our operating standards. That’s why we conduct training programs for campaign leaders. We emphasize the use of information and education, not pressure tactics. Please contact our Vice President of Philanthropy at (316) 267-1321 if you have felt pressured to donate to United Way at your workplace.

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