Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties?

United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties improves lives in our community through Community Solutions. Our goal is that everyone living in Benton and Franklin Counties has a good education; access to healthcare; lives and works in a safe environment; and is a self-sufficient, active member of our community.

Who runs the United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties?

A volunteer Board of Directors comprised of local community leaders governs the United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties. Board members represent the diversity and interests of our community. A small staff is employed by United Way to manage the organization, raise funds, and provide services in our community, including bringing the community together to identify community priorities, developing solutions to pressing needs, and coordinating efforts to deliver services efficiently.

What is Community Solutions?

Community Solutions is the name given to the way our work is prioritized. Based upon community collaboration, it was determined that the most pressing needs in Benton and Franklin Counties fall into four main areas: education, health, safety, and self-sufficiency. The work of United Way is directed by the needs within each of these areas.

Why is United Way doing Community Solutions?

For more than 50 years, United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties has been very successful in raising funds to support a variety of health and human services in our area. However, our community has changed and needs have become more complex. Through community collaboration, it was evident that there are many gaps in services as well as a lack of knowledge about the availability of services that exist. United Way began Community Solutions to address that problem.

How did United Way select the programs it is currently funding?

United Way pursues a competitive process every two years to identify programs that are aligned with region-wide Community Solutions priorities and can bring about the best results. A group of United Way Board Members review and rate the applications. Applications are evaluated in several predetermined areas: organizational governance, financial accountability, program design and responsiveness, cost effectiveness and relevant experience. The United Way Board of Directors makes the final determination on how much funding each program receives.

During the 2013 Campaign, United Way raised over $4 million and is distributing about $3.2 million in 2014. Where do the rest of the dollars go?

A portion of these funds go to uncollectible pledge loss, fundraising costs, and administrative costs. The rest went to services provided by United Way, such as facilitating the development and implementation of Community Solutions, Our Babies Can’t Wait, Prepared by 20, and Attendance Matters initiatives, providing oversight and coordination of 2-1-1, handling the federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program, community needs assessment and planning. Thanks to corporate support of the Cornerstone Program, local companies targeted their contributions to cover a large portion of United Way's overhead costs. This means more of other dollars donated can be used for community services and programs.

Why is United Way a better choice than giving directly to an agency?

United Way works on behalf of the common good. Reasons why supporting United Way is the best way to improve lives in our community include:
 
United Way takes the guesswork out of giving. Donors do not have to choose where to direct their donations because United Way does the important homework for them. United Way supports programs across the spectrum of human care issues based on how effectively they meet specifically identified community needs identified in the regional Community Solutions Plan.

United Way Board Members carefully review each United Way funded program on an annual basis. Their oversight ensures agencies adhere to sound fiscal policies and that contributions are invested in programs that do the most good.

Giving through United Way reduces costly and time-consuming fundraising efforts for the agencies providing programs. This enables them to better spend their time helping people.

When donors give through their workplace campaign, gifts can be spread out over the course of a year through payroll deduction, making it easier to support the human care needs of our community.

When donors give to United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties, their gifts are invested with the contributions of others to help provide a continuum of care for those most in need. Even if donors designate a portion of their gift to a specific service or agency, they are asked to consider investing part of their gift to the United Way Community Solutions Fund. This enables donors to partner with United Way in improving the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors. The bottom line is that gifts to United Way stay local and gets result.

What safeguards are in place to ensure accountability for United Way funds?

Our Board of Directors has established policies that safeguard the investment you make in United Way. Each year, our United Way undergoes a thorough independent financial audit. The structure of our organization also provides for volunteer committees to oversee our business practices and operations on an ongoing basis.

How late can I make a contribution to United Way and receive a tax deduction for the current year?

Donations made by credit card must be received by 10 a.m. in the United Way Office on the last working day of December.

Donations made by check and submitted by U.S. mail must be postmarked by the last working day of Decembr. Due to postal delays experienced during the holiday season, we encourage donors to mail gifts several days in advance.

Gifts made through donation of stock must be received by the United Way Office by the last working day of December.

Will I receive a tax receipt letter for my prior year donations?

United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties routinely provides documentation for tax purposes to all donors who contribute at least $250 via cash, check, credit card, or stock gifts. Donors can expect tax receipts to be mailed by U.S. mail no later than January 31.

For contributions of cash, check, credit card, or stock gifts less than $250, a tax receipt may be requested by sending an email to unitedway@unitedway-bfco.com. Please provide name, address, phone number, approximate date of contribution payment and amount.

For contributions made through payroll deduction, the IRS requires that gifts be documented through earnings statement(s) provided by employers along with a copy of pledge cards that contains the following wording: “No goods or services were received in return for this gift.”