Frequently Asked Questions

How Does United Way Work?

People like you and I contribute to a local United Way, through our workplace or online, to make an investment in our local community – improving lives and building a stronger Smith County. Our donations are combined and distributed to support programs that focus on underlying issues and create lasting changes in people’s lives. United Way of Smith County is focused on improving graduation rates, promoting healthy life styles, ensuring financial stability for individuals and families, and helping with crisis intervention.

How Much Do You Give to the Global Organization?

United Way of Smith County pays a membership dues of 1%. This 1% provides us with access to major companies who have chosen United Way as their charitable giving partner. Companies offer payroll deduction as an option for their employees who want to give a little each pay period. Many of these companies also match their employee’s gifts with a corporate donation, making each employee gift even more impactful. The 1% also provides a wealth of advertising that would not be affordable to us, for example, the partnership with the NFL and the many ways they promote and support United ways across the country. And finally, the 1% is paid from corporate donations so that our individual gifts stay in our community to support the programs and services provided by our nonprofit partners.

Why Do We Pay the 1% to United Way Worldwide?

For 1% of our campaign revenue, United Way Worldwide (UWW) provides marketing, resources, and training for operating our local United Way. Many large companies such as AT&T, Fed Ex, Ingersoll Rand, and UPS only allow United Way to conduct employee payroll deduction fundraising campaigns in their companies. Without our affiliation with UWW, we would not be allowed to conduct fundraising campaigns in these large companies. The result would be the loss of several thousands of dollars in charitable contributions each year to our local community. In addition, our local staff has the opportunity to take advantage of free training opportunities, sponsored by UWW, which would otherwise cost several thousand dollars each year.

UWW does not fund services of any kind. UWW’s role is building relationships with national and global companies so that our local efforts can support local needs. UWW cannot and does not make decisions at the local level regarding fundraising, fund distribution, community work or employment. Our local United Way is governed by a local board of volunteer directors that have ultimate authority for the operations of our organization. The local board maintains responsibility for adhering to the UWW Membership Requirements and could choose to end that affiliation at any time, with all assets being retained by the local organization in our local community.

Who Runs Our Local United Way?

United Way of Smith County is a local organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. The board is independent and makes all policy and funding decisions for our local United Way, ensuring our contributions stay right here in Smith County and do the most good.

Does United Way Support Planned Parenthood?

No, the United Way of Smith County was founded in 1940 and has never funded this organization. The United Way Worldwide also does not support Planned Parenthood and addresses this on their website.

What Volunteer Opportunities Does UW Have?

We have many volunteer opportunities. Here are a few:
Campaign Volunteers:
Company Campaign Coordinators (Plan and run your company’s United Way Campaign (we have a lot of ideas to share)
Loaned Executives (Spend 3-5 hours each week, May-December, helping us contact businesses and conduct employee rallies)

Community Relations:
Day of Caring- 1) Serve on the planning committee and help with the details of the 19th Annual Day of Caring, June 8, 2012
2) Sign up to work on a one day project (last year we had over 500 volunteers)
3) Put a team together to work on a one day project (it is fun to work in the community with your peers)

2-1-1 Texas-East Texas Region:
Sign up to train for disaster response (the training is relevant – but we hope we never need you!)
Train to assist in Community Outreach activities (attend community events to get the word about 2-1-1 services)