Talk:United Way of America

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Notice[edit]

Today I received a another (one of many)from my company that it was my decision to not donate. This is a new tactics. The hiring and firing personnel managers are sending personnel e mails to employees stating that they made a decision not to donate and for how much. In my case, I had actually donated but the personnel department sat on my check for several weeks.

The claim is United Way must record all employees giving decisions. There is no doubt this is tactic to strong arm a donation. Next years donations are certain to go up.

Competitions are run on who can sign up the most donations. Executive officers can be competitive. Last year, someone must have put a donation in my name, because they recorded that I had given when I had not. This year I make a donation and they do not record it.

But at what point will United Way have gone too far to coerice a donation out of the employee (and the personnel department). Will it be marked in the personnel file to be discussed with the operational manager.

I also believe the % cut is miss leading on how much it costs to run united way. The lost productivity costs will continue add up as these United Way programs to out match last years donation. If the government does not get involved, the executives at just few large companies will start a trend to reverse these type of tactics - by not being involved with United Way - at all.

If this goes on, the law makers are bound to get involved with stories like this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 192.104.67.221 (talk) 14:05, 19 December 2013 (UTC)


Question about support and organizations receiving support[edit]

I know you can state "I want all my donation" to go to a specific cause, but that just feels like it has no impact on the resulting amount that specific organization will get, just some of it is labeled as from you. Any charity that you give through the United Way supports the United Way also and as a result supports every organization that the United way supports by helping promote the organization as a whole. Where can I find a listing of every organization that the United Way supports? If there are organizations in that list that I do not support for personal moral or ethical reasons then wouldn't I need to refrain from supporting the United Way as a whole for the same reasons and then give my charity directly to those organizations I do support? —Preceding unsigned comment added by DTconcerned (talkcontribs) 22:29, 12 October 2009 (UTC)


First, whether a donation to a specific program has "impact" in the way you mean depends on the local United Way in question. The Metro-Atlanta UWay for instance applies such designated gifts only after the allocation/investment process has been completed, and that process is done completely blind of all special designations precisely to address the concern you raise. You must check with your local UWay to determine whether it employs a similar practice that is effective.

Second, the agencies whose programs receive UWay grants do not support the UWay, except for holding employee campaigns just like corporate UWay supporters; they generally do not make corporate gifts.

Third, finding out the organizations that the UWay supports should be fairly easy in most cases. Just go the the website of your local UWay. It is important to remember that each local UWay is an independent non-profit corporation with its own governing board of trustees, and therefore each makes its own funding decisions. Its relationship with other UWays is through its contractual relationship with UWay of America, through which the latter provides the right to the UWay name, national advertising benefits and standards that must be satisfied.

Finally, one should probably not donate to a UWay that makes grants to an organization he finds objectionable for the reason you suggest, UNLESS the UWay makes its grants using the mechanism I described in the first paragraph of this response in which case your ethical concerns would be completely and effectively respected.

Hope that helps. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 38.116.36.205 (talk) 21:52, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

America's Charities[edit]

According to http://charities.org/about/ says that 6.5% of donations go to overhead. While the article claims that 100% of donations go to individual charities. I will change the information when I have a moment, just putting this here as a reminder for myself and any maintainers. Kode 16:51, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't seem useful to talk about another charity's overhead rate without discussion of the United Way's overhead. Keep in mind that each city or county United Way will have a different amount of overhead, depending on the size of their staff and the amount of independent programming they engage in. Rich 21:56, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Agreed - there are over 1,300 United Ways in the United States and about 3,000 United Ways outside of the United States... each has its own overhead rate. Also, is this article about "United Way" the system or "United Way of America" the headquarters? Not sure why United Way of King County is included in this article because it is only one of the 1,300 or so in the U.S.

No, there are not about 3,000 United Ways outside of the US. It's a number much closer to about 10 United Ways outside of the US. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.8.13.5 (talk) 19:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Note - the following text is not from me, but I deleted this content from the article page as it belongs more appropriately on this page: The argument that United Way's add administrative costs to funded agencies due to administrative fees that are subtracted from the base allocation is partially correct, but misses the point that, theoretically, the agencies spend less in fund raising since United Way centralizes that function for all agencies and thus their administrative/fund raising costs are reduced through this more effecient fund raising approach. One could question whether the fund raising effeciences offsets the fees deducted from thier funding allocation. For many smaller organizations, I suspect that the benefits of a combined campaign far outweigh any fees paid. Moved by: --Areback 00:25, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

It looks like someone from United Way got their hands on this article and sanitized it. The logo was updated, lots of heavy PR stuff was added and all criticism was removed. I'm a noob here, but I don't think that was an appropriate edit. I re-added the criticism and merged in the bit about elaine chow, plus the info about her predecessor to give some context to the statement.

History[edit]

I removed the mention of Arimony from the history section since he already is mentioned in the "Scandals and Criticism" section... no need to have it in two places.


scandals[edit]

The two criticisms "this practice has effectively been stopped" needs some source. I am going to mark them as citation needed, and if some reference doesn't show up in a few days, delete the addition for being unsourced Gaijin42 17:24, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Someone got there just as I added this talk item. Since the item is from the United Way, I am not sure that it counts as an unbiased source, a 3rd party statement saying things have been cleaned up would be better, but I will let it set for now. Gaijin42 17:32, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Kim Tran was the CFO of the DC chapter, which is among 1,350 chapters across the country. This needs to be made clear since the actions of one chapter do not necessarily reflect what is happening in the other 1,300+ chapters.
I am fine with this clarification. Gaijin42 15:31, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

This statement is incorrect: Since United Way isn't a charity by itself, but merely an administrative program to synergize fund raising, it adds an additional level of overhead to organizational costs. If money is donated to United Way instead of directly to charitable organizations, a smaller part of it actually reaches its intended targets. Because of this, United Way organizations typically suffer from an administrational overhead of 10%-20% instead of 5%-15% that many other well-known charities have. This may be offset by the increased total number of charitible dollars donated, because of United Way's efforts.

I am removing it for now until it can be sourced. United Way is not just an administrative program and does a lot of programming on its own (see common focus areas).

Kim Tran was the CFO of the DC chapter, which is among 1,350 chapters across the country. This needs to be made clear since the actions of one chapter do not necessarily reflect what is happening in the other 1,300+ chapters.


I separated the single bullet point for the 1992 Aramony and 2004 Suer scandals. These were two entirely unrelated instances of corruption and should not have been lumped together as one item. Sailboatd2 19:24, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

"Many companies are actually the ones at fault here, not the individual United Ways. Companies want show the community their charitable face, and may use "discreet" pressure on their own employees to accomplish this. Local United Ways will always recommend against this tactic as it is unproductive and leaves a bad taste in a donor’s mouth. United Ways want a continuing relationship with donors and would not condone any pressure by any source." This entire paragraph can be considered biased in favor of the United Way and requires citations from a source other than United Way. 66.93.23.226 (talk) 04:26, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

"Some local United Way chapters have faced criticism that their donation options are misleading. United Way allows individuals to specify that their donation go to a particular charity. However, if that charity is already a part of the United Way network, the money sent to that charity may not be affected by user requests unless the total amount of designations exceeds the amount otherwise budgeted for that charity. This rarely happens even for the most frequently designated charities, meaning that in practice individual designations have no effect on United Way funding." IMO this is a legitimate concern and worthy of mention. That said, it is presumably also noteworthy that some United Ways (Metro-Atlanta for instance), apply such designations only subsequent to the normal allocation/investment process, which process is conducted completely blind of such specific designations. This mechanism was developed precisely to avoid the concern mentioned above and to thereby give respect to donor intentions. If someone agrees that this additional fact is also worth mentioning, I am happy to work with them to provide an appropriate citation. They can contact me (Mike Petrik) at Alston & Bird in Atlanta. I serve on the board and served on the committee that developed the mechanism I describe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 38.116.36.205 (talk) 19:55, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Somewhere in this article the level of coercion and strong-arm tactics that businesses put on their employees to donate to the United Way needs to be discussed. While this has been significant for at least the last 30 years there seems to be a bit of resurgence in this illegal and immoral activity of forcing employees to donate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.189.138.43 (talk) 07:41, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

United Way of America[edit]

There's a misunderstanding surrounding United Way's organizational structure. United Way of America is the national service shop of the system, yet most of the information on this page does not pertain to United Way of America, but to the greater United Way system, therefore almost all info here is mislabeled. It works like this:

  • There's the United Way brand -- a franchise-type agreement that local "chapters" (United Ways) enter into.
  • There are the local United Ways -- independently incorporated organizations, with their own boards in place.
  • There's United Way of America -- a service organization for the system of 1300 United Ways, which provides training, leverages national advertising and public policy and provides system-wide leadership for the common mission of the United Way brand.

Since I "appear to be an employee of this organization" I won't edit the page. I encourage the community not to perpetuate the misinformation and to ensure that this Wikipedia site -- that we support, contribute to and love so much -- is as accurate as possible. United Way is the world's largest private charity and from here we get to influence the perception of many. Iavorche (talk) 17:17, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality?[edit]

This article reads like ad copy... --superioridad (discusión) 09:57, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

5 years later and it still appears to be an ad for the UW. Nothing about the past scandals, the CEOs bloated salary ($1,035,347 + bennies and perks), their coercive tactics, the waste of money when donated to them instead of to a charity directly, etc etc. Pretty sad article indeed. --Stubborn Myth (talk) 05:44, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Boy Scouts and Planned Parenthood[edit]

According to the FAQ on their official site, it is up for the local chapters to decide where funding should go or not. Some have stopped funding to Boy Scouts and Planned Parenthood, but most apparently have not. Dream Focus 20:47, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Just to clarify: It is a bit deceptive to characterize local United Ways as "chapters" of the United Way of America. The United Way of America owns the United Way name and associated logos. It licenses the use of this intangible property to local United Ways in exchange for an annual fee, which fee also covers expenses and services related to best practices and national advertising (e.g., the NFL). Each local United Way is separately incorporated and has its own governing board of directors. It is the ultimate responsiblity of each board to make its own funding and other policy decisions in a manner that is consistent with its contractual responsiblities to the United Way of America. Indeed, if a local United Way ever found such contractual obligations to be incompatable with its objectives it could choose to sever its relationship with the United Way of America, but presumably would have to change its name given the corresponding removal of license rights. Perhaps it would be helpful to appreciate that various local communities founded independent United Way agencies well before those agencies voluntarily formed a national association to advance certain common interests. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 38.116.36.205 (talk) 18:36, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Contribution coercion[edit]

Finding the Code of Ethics on the United Way website is not particularly easy. The history of the Wikipedia article indicates that it has changed more than once. I found it today at http://www.liveunited.org/About/upload/EthicsCode2004.pdf. The existing reference on the article page leads nowhere, but I do not know how to change it. The section which bans contribution coercion reads "Refrain from any use of coercion in fundraising activities,including predicating professional advancement on response to solicitations". This seems perfectly clear. If any scandals of this type exist, then they would appear to be the failings of the supporters, rather than of United Way itself. I hold no brief for or against United Way, but it seems a little unfair to highlight unsubstantiated allegations of breaches of their Code of Ethics by outsiders under a heading of "Criticism and Scandals." PDAWSON3 (talk) 02:28, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the above statement. The United Way campaigns I have been associated with (and there have been many) always involved admonitions from United Way staff that coercion or anything approaching coercion must be avoided. Instead, campaign volunteers are trained to persuade and make the case. For rather obvious reasons it is not in the United Way's interest to create ill-will by using coercive tactics. That said, I know that some managers, especially middle managers, can be tempted to push too hard in order to bring in results pleasing to his seniors. This phenomenon is considered a problem by United Ways since it leads to brand impairment and exactly the kind criticisms displayed on this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.61.66.214 (talk) 16:34, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

IF there is coersion on the part of soliciters, whether they are officially part of the organization or not, this is a failure of the United Way. The United WAy should be responsible and ethical in how they raise funds, and provide sufficient training and guidelines to their supporters to avoid unethical conduct. Just as a corporation with one employee can have their brand tainted by malfeasance, a charitable organization can have their reputation tarnished when their supporters solicit donations unethically.Bigbadman (talk) 14:39, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

This situation literally happened to me about an hour ago with my employer wanting 100% contribution.

Merge With United Way Worldwide[edit]

As indicated in this entry, "[i]n May 2009, United Way of America and United Way International were integrated as one global entity, United Way Worldwide." Therefore, either this page should be merged with the United Way Worldwide article or this entry should be about the historical organizational that ended in 2009. Much of this article (including the introduction) is now dated and inaccurate. I have an affiliation with both one of the predecessor organizations and the successor organization, so I won't be editing this page, but I recommend that others merge the pages. Werads (talk) 14:35, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

I believe United Way is a great charity and the discrepancies named can be fixed if people look into this charity. You will come to understand that there are different branches all with their unique way of helping. I wanted to add a Santa Barbara portion for the United Way Worldwide page because I feel they are an important partner to the organization. I believe that their program, Fun in the Sun is a huge success and truly benefits our entire community. There are so many volunteers and so much effort that is put in every summer to make sure each child and their families are cared for. In addition, the effort continues all throughout the year with planning for the next summer, accommodating new campers, and raising money to continue this wonderful program.

This page has so much that could be added to it, including the Santa Barbara section. Before thinking it is not specific enough, or doesn't fit I urge everyone to add about their own United Way page and soon enough it will grow. I have no doubt. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bubbletoes3 (talkcontribs) 02:58, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Has This Wiki Been "Scrubbed" ?[edit]

I distinctly remember several scandals involving the percentage of funds received going to "Administrative Costs" and came here specifically to find it, and I find it very difficult to believe that 3 meager lines vaguely referencing past executives give all the details, which leads me to wonder if it's still happening. Is United Way scrubbing this wiki in order to tamp-down reasons to not donate?Jonny Quick (talk) 03:54, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Deleting Santa Barbara material[edit]

This article has been tagged as "overly promotional" for a year. For that reason, I am deleting the material that is promoting the Santa Barbara office and one of its events. Also, this material does not belong in the National partnerships section as it is not a national partnership. Instead, this is local news. With 1200 United Way offices, it's not practical to post tidbits about every local office and its events. See also WP:NOTDIRECTORY. If the Santa Barbara office is particularly notable as a stand-alone entity, perhaps it merits its own article. I don't know. For related comments, see this edit by another editor [1]. Logical Cowboy (talk) 04:27, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Blacklisted Links Found on United Way of America[edit]

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Blacklisted Links Found on United Way of America[edit]

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