FAQs

FAQs

What is United Way?
United Way is more than “another charity” and more than a fund-raising drive. It is our community’s volunteer network helping to fund critical human service needs in Hidalgo & Starr Counties. United Way brings together a cross-section of volunteers and agencies in order to help people needing assistance with today’s problems. It raises funds for many agencies which are providing a broad spectrum of health & human services.

Why a United Way?
Instead of each agency having its own campaign which would result in many appeals at the workplace, United Way holds one campaign each year. By consolidating many fund-raising efforts into one, United Way saves campaign costs, minimizes the requests and serves our community efficiently.

How does United Way keep administrative expenses low?
United Way’s goal is to maximize the amount of dollars going to community needs. The campaign is recognized as a proven method of economic fund-raising. The extensive use of volunteers allows us to reach many people in companies throughout our area in a cost-efficient manner.

Who decides how much money each agency should receive?
Distribution of United Way funds is decided by citizen review — local citizens who volunteer to serve on special Allocations Panels. Every United Way agency prepares a presentation each year which includes its yearly budget and programs. Each agency’s budget is reviewed and analyzed by the people serving on the Allocations Panels, who recommend to the United Way Board of Directors how dollars should be distributed to best meet community needs. The United Way staff does not make the decisions.

Who pays for special events and meetings?
In most cases, United Way will charge a fee for a luncheon or dinner event. In other cases, special United Way events and training meetings are paid for through the generosity of firms. This gift is above and beyond their corporate gifts to United Way, campaign contributions are not used for these events.

What area is served by United Way of South Texas?
UW service and solicitation area includes Hidalgo and Starr Counties.

How much should I give? What is a community investment gift?
United Way does not tell you what to give but offers a suggested guide. This guide is scaled according to income so that the giver can be comfortable with the average gift based on income. Only you can decide how much you can give, but because your gift is divided among the agencies, you might ask yourself if your one annual gift to United Way equals the total you could give to each agency if they made separate appeals.

My spouse gives. Should I give too?
United Way depends upon each working person to give a personal gift. Each has an individual community responsibility and United Way can only continue to provide human care services if each of us does his part. We ask that your gift be based upon your salary and expenses.

If I stop working, what happens to my pledge?
Your pledge to United Way is made in good faith based upon your earnings. Should you cease to be employed, you are completely absolved of your pledge for that period. When you start a new job, however, United Way hopes that you will sign up for payroll deduction again.

Is my United Way gift tax deductible?
Yes, if you itemize your deductions, you may deduct it as a “post” tax item.

How much of what I give actually remains in Hidalgo & Starr Counties?
100 cents of every dollar is channeled back into our community.

Why am I charged for services at some United Way agencies, even though I give to United Way?
The fee that you are charged pays for part of the cost of the agency service you received. Those who can afford to pay are asked to do so, according to their financial ability, thereby reducing the cost of services to the community and insuring that United Way dollars go as far as possible for people unable to pay. In most cases, free service is provided when people can and cannot afford to pay.

Who runs United Way?
People who run United Way are unpaid volunteers. A professional staff administers the daily operations. A volunteer Board of Directors made up of a cross-section of local community leaders makes all policy decisions. Volunteer committees work in all major functions of United Way such as campaign, marketing finance, fund distribution, strategic planning and communications. Each year more than 500 caring community citizens serve as United Way volunteers.

What is United Way of America?
United Way of America is a national service and training center. It provides training, support and a wide variety of services to a network of more than 1,300 community-based, locally controlled United Ways throughout the nation.

What is the relationship between United Way of South Texas and United Way of America (UWA)?
United Way of South Texas operates independently and is guided by a local volunteer Board of Directors. We pay dues to UWA (off interest accrued) in exchange for a variety of benefits that include staff and management training; an established network for disseminating practices; innovations for addressing critical community issues; films; materials; and FREE national advertisements with the National Football League.

Why should I give when United Way funds an agency I don’t like?
All United Way agencies provide needed services to the community. Each agency is examined annually by volunteers who review budgets and programs to insure that people are being served efficiently. If you have any questions or concerns about a United Way agency, let us know your concerns and make plans to visit that agency. Remember each agency serves an important community need, one that you may need someday.

Don’t some companies pressure their employees to give?
Giving is a personal matter, whether individuals wish to give and how much they choose to give is up to the individual. The purpose of United Way is to offer people an opportunity to be generous so that others can receive the help they need. United Way believes that every employee should receive an adequate explanation concerning the importance of United Way agencies’ services and that questions should be answered. Under no circumstances should an employee be coerced into contributing.