Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why should I donate to United Way of Mesa County?
United Way of Mesa County has the capacity to serve as an agent for change by addressing immediate needs and working to provide long-term solutions. United Way of Mesa County can leverage your gift through tax credits and, in some cases, federal and state matching dollars. United Way of Mesa County holds itself and our funded community partners to a high degree of accountability to ensure your gift is used efficiently. Your gift supports a united effort to achieve results and make a difference right here in Mesa County.
2) What’s the difference between United Way and other nonprofits?
Making a gift to United Way of Mesa County is the most effective way to help our community as a whole. Our unique ability to work across complex issues with hundreds of community partners is unmatched. Our programs help people in crisis get back on their feet, help prevent future problems and build a stronger community for all of us. No other single organization meets the broad range of needs addressed by United Way.
3) What does my donation do?
United Way of Mesa County invests in our community in various ways. We focus on Health, Education and Self-Reliance. Here are some examples of what your money can do:
- $1 per paycheck can provide an emergency 3-day meal supply for five people in Mesa County who have limited or no means of obtaining food.
- $3 per paycheck funds one comprehensive eye exam and a pair of new glasses for a low-income Mesa County resident suffering from headaches due to poor vision.
- $10 per paycheck can prevent one young, low-income family in Mesa County from losing their home due to eviction and assist them in becoming financially self-reliant.
- $20 per paycheck can provide 12 counseling sessions to a child victim of sexual assault in Mesa County, reducing trauma, promoting dignity, justice and healing.
In 2014, more than 54,000 people (one in three) accessed services at an organization funded by United Way of Mesa County. Your gift does more than just support people who are in urgent need right now. You also support meaningful, lasting change that impacts the entire community.
4) How much of my donation goes to services versus administrative costs?
Our general administrative costs are 13% and fundraising costs are about 14% of our overall revenue. This exceeds the Better Business Bureau guidelines that suggest 65% of total expenses for charitable organizations be spent on program activities. We are committed to keeping our administrative expenses low. Furthermore, the percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—commonly referred to as “overhead” — is often a poor measure of a charity’s performance. Overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work: investments in training, planning, evaluation, and internal systems— as well as their efforts to raise money so they can operate their programs. These expenses allow a charity to sustain itself (the way a family has to pay the electric bill) or to improve itself (the way a family might invest in college tuition.)
We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance: transparency, governance, leadership, and results. United Way of Mesa County is proud of our open and competitive application process for funding in our three initiatives, providing funding for more than 40 programs across our county. This way you know your dollars are being leveraged with others in our community to make real and lasting positive change.
5) How is United Way of Mesa County held accountable?
The most valuable asset we have is the trust and confidence people have in our ability to meet community needs. We are audited each year by an independent accounting firm to ensure we are in compliance with generally accepted accounting procedures, regulations, and laws. We strive to be transparent. We are long standing members of the Better Business Bureau.
6) Who decides how you invest in the community?
We call them our allocations team. They are dedicated volunteers and experts from our community that carefully screen and select the programs funded by your contribution. As a member of one of the nine panels, each person is trained to read and understand a grant application, evaluate a program’s effectiveness, efficiency, and ability to deliver results, make site visits as a group to see the program in action and talk with staff and clients of each program. Allocation panel members make recommendations that are reviewed and approved by our volunteer board of directors.
7) I want to give through payroll deduction. When does payroll deduction start?
Most United Way of Mesa County campaigns run on a 12-month calendar cycle, but this can vary by company. Check with your Workplace Campaign Coordinator for the specific dates.
8) How much of a donation will make a difference?
United Way of Mesa County and our community appreciate each person making a gift based on his or her income and financial situation. Many donors give a percentage of their income or choose to give the equivalent of one to two hours per paycheck. Your financial contribution is a personal decision and even a small amount can make a big difference in another individual or family’s life. Combined with thousands of other people here in Mesa County, your donation has the potential to make an enormous impact.
9) I want my business to be involved with United Way.
That’s great news! We are always looking for more community partners that can help us answer our community’s needs. Please check out the various ways your business, company or organization can help here.
10) What if United Way supports an organization or a cause that I don’t like?
It’s important that you feel comfortable with your decision to donate. Although you may not care for one agency, United Way supports programs within many other agencies that serve people in our community. Without the support of the community through United Way, many of these important programs and services would not exist. To review which agencies United Way of Mesa County is currently funding, click here.
11) What if I make a mistake and want to change my gift once I submitted my donation?
No problem. If you give by automatic payroll deduction, start by getting in touch with the person that handles your paychecks and they should be able to assist you with the change. If you’re not giving through a workplace campaign, contact our office at 970-243-5364 and we can make the change.
12) What’s the difference between designated and undesignated gifts?
We support any form of donation because we want to encourage a community of philanthropists. A designated gift restricts your gift to a specific 501(c)3 organization. An undesignated gift takes advantage of United Way’s thorough, research-based program selection that gets the money to the issues and areas that need it most. This allows you to help the most people and do the most good for our entire community. Because a designated dollar can only be spent on that particular agency, it decreases the total available for United Way to strategically invest, thus decreasing the total allocations to all agencies.
13) I want to request funding for my agency or project.
We have a meticulous process that doesn’t happen overnight. Please click here to check out the requirements.
14) I need financial assistance. Can United Way of Mesa County help me?
United Way is not set up to provide direct financial assistance to individuals, but we work with many community partners that do. We recommend dialing 2-1-1 (or 970-244-8400) which is a free, confidential, call center available 24/7. The 2-1-1 referral specialists help connect people to a variety of health and human service resources, including child care, food, shelter, and counseling. They also help find volunteer opportunities and match in-kind gifts, such as furniture or used cars with many of the community’s nonprofit organizations. You can also visit the website: http://www.wc211.org/. United Way is a proud partner of Western Colorado 2-1-1.