Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does United Way do?
A: United Way works to improve lives and community conditions by bringing people and resources together to focus on the local issues that matter most. We operate by the philosophy that together, united, we accomplish far more than any individual or single agency could achieve alone. United Way harnesses the collective power of personal giving, corporate participation, and expertise in human services, the energy of volunteers and the work of like-minded organizations.
United Way tends to be most visible in the community during its annual fundraising campaign, which typically begins in early fall. However, United Way is active year-round studying community needs and directing resources to where they will accomplish the greatest benefit...in changed lives and stronger communities. Our focus is on FINANCIAL STABILITY, EDUCATION AND HEALTH/WELLNESS. These are the building blocks everyone needs for a good quality of life, and they are the cornerstones to strong, prosperous community.
Q: How is United Way different?
A: Our focus is local and comprehensive. We look at the spectrum of unique issues and needs that affect Charlotte County. Our strategy is to locate and mobilize resources -- and align them for impact. Instead of having small pockets of money and effort scattered across a broad swath of need, United Way ensures that resources are targeted strategically to achieve the most powerful results in the critical areas of Financial Stability, Education and Health/Wellness.
Q: Why should I give to United Way when I can give directly to an individual charity?
1. The issues facing our community are complex and connected. Academic failure, a family’s inability to meet basic needs, and health concerns are often related. United Way campaign dollars support a portfolio of high-performing programs that, together, change lives and community conditions at a deep and lasting level. When you donate to United Way of Charlotte County, you contribute to the strength and future of our community.
2. United Way’s work centers on helping people gain access to the building blocks for a good quality of life, which research and practice has shown to be EDUCATION that leads to gainful employment, financial RESOURCES to meet basic needs and support a family through retirement, and the ability and resources to achieve good HEALTH.
3. United Way’s focus on early intervention prevents problems from reaching the level of acute need, which often requires repeated and expensive treatment. It’s the difference between spending annually to add beds to homeless shelters and investing strategically to reduce the underlying conditions that lead to homelessness.
4. Programs that receive United Way dollars are reviewed for effectiveness and financial efficiency by trained community volunteers who know our community and are committed to improving the local quality of life. United Way monitors the performance of funded programs so donors are assured the strongest return on their charitable dollar.
5. United, we can accomplish far more than any individual or single agency could achieve alone. When you give to United Way, your dollars are pooled with the investments of individuals across the Charlotte County to have a powerful and concentrated impact on the local issues that affect all of us.
6. UWCC leverages contributions to make a greater impact by combining it with volunteer efforts, advocacy and best practices – all focused on eliminating poverty. UWCC’s unique position allows us to work across traditional boundaries between the private, non-profit and public sectors so that we’re able to multiply the results of your charitable dollar.
Q: Where does the money go?
A: In the fiscal year, beginning April 1, 2018, you can view a list of our funded programs here.
One percent of our overall campaign total is given to United Way Worldwide. In exchange for this, our local organization receives the benefit of national legislative efforts, professional development and brand management materials.
Q: I am a United Way donor. So why can’t I get assistance directly from United Way?
A: United Way of the Charlotte County collects and invests resources to strengthen local human services that offer direct help to people in need. United Way does not directly serve clients.
Through our history, we have found this unique support role to be the most effective and efficient way for donors, human service agencies and United Way to work together to change lives and community conditions. United Way supports local agencies by issuing grants, monitoring results, offering technical assistance, mobilizing volunteers and creating strategies to make lasting improvements in people’s lives and the community.
We are the only fiscal agent in Charlotte County for Season of Sharing assistance which helps Charlotte County residents with their rent and utilities - thereby preventing homelessness for those who have just had a temporary setback in their finances. If someone needs help in this manner, they can call our office at 941-627-3539 for additional information.
People seeking direct services are encouraged to call 2-1-1, which is an information and referral service that can connect people with local agencies that provide assistance to individuals and families in need. Many of the agencies in the 2-1-1 database receive United Way support and are therefore better equipped to carry out their critical work thanks to United Way.
Q: What percentage of the money I give to United Way goes to United Way’s overhead?
A: United Way of Charlotte County’s overhead expenses for the fiscal year ending March 2018 are 11 percent. This includes all campaign supplies and expenses, year-round community planning, year-round community service and agency relations, as well as year-round billing and collection of pledges. This is far more efficient than the 35 percent threshold endorsed by the Better Business Bureau and the Nation Charities Information Bureau. You can do a complete review of our most recent financials - audit and 990 here.
One reason we’re able to keep campaign expenses so low is that United Way is able to utilize volunteers annually to assist with everything from fundraising, to community planning, to hands-on projects that directly benefit local agencies.