This year, the United Way Campaign of Burlington & Greater Hamilton is reaching out to empower every individual to be part of a dynamic movement where “Change starts here.” You’ve been watching, hearing and reading about our three main focuses: turning poverty into possibilities, healthy people build strong communities and all that kids can be. One in three of us will be assisted by a United Way agency this year and 90 per cent will be assisted at some point in our life journey.
With so many charities asking for donations, and so many urban myths circulating through the social media, we believe it’s more important than ever to know exactly how and where your dollars are going. Here are the answers to many commonly asked questions.
How much does United Way spend on operations versus funding community agencies? The United Way is very proud of its accomplishments and is pleased to report that administration and fundraising costs are one of the lowest in the country, according to the Revenue Canada, at 16 per cent. United Way keep is able to keep its costs down by engaging an estimated 6,000 volunteers in the delivery of its work.
What does Revenue Canada allow charities to spend on fundraising and administration costs? The rules used to state that a charity must spend no more than 20 per cent on fundraising and administration costs but the regulations were changed over a year ago because the average charity was spending well in excess of that restriction. While the government has indicated that there will be new regulations to recognize the challenges that charities are facing to stay within the 20 per cent guideline, the United Way is committed to keeping its fundraising and administration costs well below that level.
Check out the Canada Review Agency website http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/donors/ where all of the 90,000 plus registered charities report their revenues and expenses – it’s the law. The United Way pays its staff a fair salary, in the middle range, of not for profit and registered charities.
How does United Way determine where the money goes? Each year community volunteers review and screen the programs and services funding applications from the many charities that United Way supports. United Way funds 131 programs and services in Hamilton and Burlington delivered by 73 agencies. When additional funds are available, the United Way puts out a call for new programs and services.
All programs and services funded must be provincially incorporated, federally registered charities who can demonstrate the impact of the programs and/or services through measureable outcomes. Last year, more than 36 volunteers put in 1,100 hours review funding applications and making recommendations to the United Way’s Community Impact Committee and Board of Directors.
How does United Way determine its funding priorities? Every five years the United Way undertakes extensive consultations to ascertain the current needs of the community, the identifiable gaps and whether any previously identified priorities have been resolved and no longer requires support. These consultations, along with research findings provided by the Social Planning and Research Council and Community Development Halton help shape the United Way’s funding priorities through the organization’s Community Impact Committee and Board.
Wouldn’t it be great to know you are part of great thing when we reach our goal this year? To make a donation visit, www.uwaybh.ca or call 905-527-4543. Change starts here.
Len Lifchus, is CEO of United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton