Frequently Asked Questions

What is the United Way Fund and why should I donate to it?

The United Way Fund is a pool of undesignated (the giver has not specified a particular agency as the recipient) funds that allows United Way to distribute dollars to address the community’s most pressing needs. By giving to the Fund, you’re ensuring that your gift will be used where it can make the biggest impact.

When I donate to the United Way Fund, how much of my money is used to cover overhead costs?

Only 14 percent of your donation is used to cover United Way’s overhead costs. The rest—86 percent—directly supports the creation of change in our community.

What is the best way to donate to United Way?

There are several ways to give to United Way. Often, a gift made through your employer via payroll deduction is the most convenient method. We also accept cash, check, or credit card donations as well. Or you can give online.

How do you determine which agencies to fund?

We use a “citizen review” process to consider applications and make funding recommendations to the United Way Board.

United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County has selected two priority funding areas that guide us in directing funding. These focus areas are Investing in Lincoln’s Future: Our Children and Assisting Those in Crisis. Programs should address one of these strategies by assisting victims of hunger, homelessness, violence, or disaster or by helping children succeed in school and graduate from high school with the skills and motivation to continue their education or pursue employment.

Are donor designations considered when recommending amounts for agencies seeking United Way funding?

No, donor designations are not considered when we make our recommendations. Funding amounts are determined based on the program’s ability to impact our key focus areas.

How does an agency become part of United Way?

We operate on a two-year funding cycle. Agencies seeking United Way funding need to contact United Way, apply in the fall before the next funding cycle, and meet our requirements. Applicants must provide two years of program and financial data for a program that addresses one of United Way’s two focus areas.

When does the next agency application process begin?

The application process for the next funding cycle will begin in November 2016 for agencies seeking 2017–2019 funding.

Why did you discontinue funding for ____, or why don’t you fund _____?

In 2008, United Way selected our priority funding areas and transitioned to a two-year funding cycle. The funding cycle is zero-based, meaning agencies/programs are funded based on their ability to effectively address community issues rather than on a historical relationship. This allows United Way to be more responsive to emerging issues and partnerships. Agencies apply every two years for new funding.

What is the relationship between our local United Way and United Way Worldwide?

United Way Worldwide, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,300 community-based United Ways in 45 countries. United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County is a community-based 501(c)(3) organization.

What is the relationship between United Way and Community Health Charities of Nebraska?

United Way and Community Health Charities of Nebraska (CHC-NE) have a contractual partnership in which CHC-NE receives a guaranteed portion of the dollars raised through the annual campaign. This partnership allows us to utilize the United Way Fund on behalf of an expanded list of agencies throughout the community.

What is the United Way Foundation and what is its relationship to United Way (proper)?

The United Way Foundation was created in 2005 to support the mission and programs of United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County. Gifts to the Foundation assist in covering overhead costs and ensure that dollars raised from donations to the United Way Fund can be used to support the needs of the community.

Does United Way offer volunteer opportunities?

Yes. Community members can volunteer to serve on a United Way committee or can get involved in our readers, tutors, and mentors program.

How can I become a volunteer?

You can get involved as a volunteer by completing the volunteer form or by calling United Way at 402.441.7700.

What is meant by Leadership Giving?

Leadership Giving is an annual gift of $500 or more to the United Way Fund. There are several organizations within Leadership Giving, including the Leadership Circle, Women in Philanthropy, the Women’s Leadership Council, the Tocqueville Society, Emerging Leaders, and our Loyal Contributors.

What is the difference between Women in Philanthropy (WIP) and the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC)?

To be a part of Women in Philanthropy, a woman must make an annual gift of $500 or more to the United Way campaign. To be a member of the Women’s Leadership Council, a woman must make a gift of either $1,000 or $2,500 directed to the WLC initiative, which supports families in need through child care scholarships and supplemental food.

How do I join WIP/WLC?

To join, complete an annual pledge form indicating where your gift should be directed.