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Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I contribute to a social safety net? Isn’t that why I pay taxes?
- How much of my donation is spent on fundraising costs?
- We receive hundreds of charitable requests during the year. Why should our company conduct a payroll deduction program just for the United Way?
- If I contribute to a United Way campaign downtown or in another region, will my donation automatically be sent to York Region where I live?
- Do agencies that receive United Way funding charge clients for their services?
- Why do some agencies conduct their own fundraising even though they receive money from United Way?
- Do I have any choice in which charities my donation supports?
- My favourite charity is not listed on the UWYR partner agency list. Why not?
- How do I know my money is being sent to the charity I want it to?
Why should I contribute to a social safety net? Isn’t that why I pay taxes?
Next to government, United Way is the largest funder of the voluntary sector and social services in Canada. Government funding is a key element in addressing human service needs in our community, but the fact is it’s not nearly enough. Human service programs in York Region are chronically under-funded. For example, provincial per capita spending on children’s services in York Region is $193 per child. That is approximately 1/3 the provincial average of $594 (excluding the GTA/905 region) (statistics provided by Human Services Planning Coalition 2006). The United Way philosophy of raising money in our community – for our community – is crucial in responding to issues that exist in our own neighbourhoods. We all have a vested interest in maintaining strong, healthy communities throughout York Region.
How much of my donation is spent on fundraising costs?
United Way of York Region’s fundraising and administration costs are well below the recognized Canadian benchmark of 26%. Over the last five years, an average 83.6 cents of every dollar raised went directly to important programs in York Region neighbourhoods.
We receive hundreds of charitable requests during the year. Why should our company conduct a payroll deduction program just for the United Way?
UWYR undergoes a regular needs assessment process that ensures it focuses on the most pressing community needs. This means donors can be confident that their money is being used where it is needed the most – without taking the time and effort required to assess need and program effectiveness every time they are approached for a donation. One donation to UWYR supports a network of close to 100 programs delivered by our 41 partner agencies.
If I contribute to a United Way campaign downtown or in another region, will my donation automatically be sent to York Region where I live?
It is not automatic. To ensure your donation is put to work here in York Region you must indicate your wish in the space provided for your ‘Designation’ on your pledge form.
Do agencies that receive United Way funding charge clients for their services?
United Way funding is designed to ensure that all people have access to needed human service programs, regardless of their economic status. In order to be financially viable some agencies do charge user fees to those with the ability to pay (fees are based on the client’s income). This reinforces United Way’s mandate to provide assistance where it is needed the most. UWYR funding is meant to be a hand up, not a hand out.
Why do some agencies conduct their own fundraising even though they receive money from United Way?
UWYR is not the sole supporter of any of our funded agencies. Unfortunately, demand for services requires many agencies to raise money on their own as well. This may include capital or special project fundraising. The more funding UWYR is able to provide, the less time and resources agencies have to allocate to fundraising. That results in more time and resources to allocate toward their main objective – delivery of important human service programs to the citizens of York Region.
Do I have any choice in which charities my donation supports?
You can designate your donation simply by providing the appropriate information on your pledge form. You can designate all or part of your donation to specific areas of need, specific United Way partner agencies, or any registered Canadian charity. Donor designation is provided as a service to our donors for their convenience, however it is not something we actively promote. Donor designations have the potential to weaken the concept of a Community Fund. UWYR’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. The UWYR Community Fund is efficient and effective. It works like a mutual fund: pooling contributions creates an investment of sufficient magnitude to deliver a powerful impact in the community.
My favourite charity is not listed on the UWYR partner agency list. Why not?
The most common reason is that funded agencies must maintain the commitment United Way makes to its donors – that their money will be used to fund human care programs according to United Way’s funding priorities (not capital or research projects), and that 100% of the funding remains here in York Region. The strenuous financial and programming review process is another common reason. Please note: United Way does provide an avenue for donors to request their donation, or a part of it, be sent to organizations that don’t receive funding through the UWYR Community Fund. Under Canadian law, the organization must be a registered Canadian charity. (please see question 8).
How do I know my money is being sent to the charity I want it to?
There is a place on the pledge form to indicate if you want all or part of your donation designated to a specific charity. All designations are honoured and paid. For efficiency, designated funds are paid to agencies as pledges are paid to us. Typically designation payments are made three times a year.