Frequently Asked Questions
What is United Way of the National Capital Area?
United Way of the National Capital Area is a unifying force in the greater Washington region bringing together businesses, individuals, government agencies and services organizations who want to help those most in need.
With a 35 year history of running the largest workplace giving program in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County and Prince George's County, we are a trusted partner to over 730 nonprofit organizations who care about their communities and are investing their time and talents in solving critical problems.
What makes United Way unique?
United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. Our name is known all over the world and our 124 year history is a testament to how effective we are.
United Way of the National Capital Area has a 35 year history of running workplace giving campaigns, and is now working to provide more opportunities for people to take positive action-giving their dollars, their time or their voice for the greatest impact.
Living United means finding and investing in exciting ways to develop and help manage new programs in our local area. Our focus is on three critical building blocks for a good life -- Education, Financial Stability and Health.
What is a workplace campaign?
United Way NCA's annual workplace giving campaign is about bringing people together to tackle our community's most difficult issues, because no one person or organization can do it alone. Whether you're a small business, a major corporation, or even a nonprofit, you can join the hundreds of local businesses and organizations that run workplace campaigns each year.
Workplace campaigns give organizations and their employees the opportunity to learn about our community's needs and give them a convenient opportunity to get involved. We partner with a wide variety of businesses in many different industries and recognize individuals and organizations that run excellent campaigns.
Can I choose how my donation will be used?
Your United Way NCA provides four donation choices that reflect what's important to you:
- Give Directly to United Way NCA -- The easiest way to make a difference in your community. Your contribution goes where it's needed most and provides the means to achieve United Way NCA's mission of improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community to advance the common good.
- Give to a Particular Impact Area -- Your contribution will help solve some of our region's most critical needs in the areas of Education, Financial Stability, Health and Basic Needs.
- Give to Your Region -- Our teams of local volunteers recommend the most impactful programs to fund, ensuring your contributions go where they will do the most good.
- Give to a Nonprofit Organization of Your Choice -- We support many local nonprofit organizations that serve a variety of people in a wide array of communities.
Is my gift tax deductible?
In most cases it is. You must have a receipt for your donation to meet IRS requirements. If you donate to United Way NCA via payroll contribution, keep your pay stubs as your receipts. If you make a one-time donation of $250 or more, you'll receive a tax receipt letter from United Way NCA reflecting the amount of your gift. See your Corporate Relationship Manager for more details.
What are the Community Impact Funds?
Each of the eight regions (Alexandria, Arlington, DC, Fairfax/Falls Church, and Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince George's and Prince William Counties) that make up United Way NCA has its own Community Impact Fund.
These funds help United Way solve critical challenges facing our communities that no one person, nonprofit, or company can address alone. When you give to these Funds, your donation is directed where the need is most urgent in your community.
Funding decisions are made by a volunteer, citizen-led task force that works together with area nonprofits, governments, and business leaders to determine where there are gaps in services and where the funds will do the most good.
How do nonprofit organizations benefit from United Way affiliation?
Our nonprofit partners can take advantage of United Way's consolidated fundraising efforts with access to over 100,000 potential donors, which give them a dependable source of annual funding and improve their operational efficiency.
An affiliation with United Way NCA raises a non-profits visibility in the private and public sectors, improving their chances to win grants and other vital financial support. United Way also gives access to crucial planning resources, such as community needs assessments, so they can determine how their programs can best serve the public.
How do nonprofit organizations become affiliated with the United Way?
Each year, organizations must apply to participate in our campaign, and, in keeping with United Way's high standards of integrity and accountability, must meet strict criteria for approval, including:
- Incorporate as a not-for-profit organization, with a constitution and/or by-laws
- Observe and practice a policy of non-discrimination
- Form and utilize an active governing body
- Account for their funds according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and, if their revenue is over $250,000, submit to an independent audit
- Prepare an annual report or newsletter to the public
- Have a substantial presence in the geographical area covered by United Way NCA
- Give member nonprofit staff an opportunity to support the community by conducting an in-house United Way NCA workplace campaign.
When are United Way member nonprofit organizations notified that they will receive money?
Each year at the end of March, United Way NCA notifies our nonprofit partners of their designations from the campaign. Donations to write-in organizations are notified at the time they receive payment. Our nonprofit partners are informed of donors' names, should the donor choose to release the information.
How does United Way NCA help my community?
Focused on the fundamental issues of Education, Financial Stability, and Health, United Way NCA supports community initiatives and nonprofit organizations that help people from all walks of life. Chances are that you, a family member, a friend, or a neighbor has benefited from United Way's efforts.
What types of services does United Way NCA support?
Your United Way NCA gift is an investment in a powerful network of interconnected programs and services. No one nonprofit organization stands alone. The value of your donation has a "snowball effect," giving it a system-wide impact.
Let's say you designate a women's shelter as the area of need you want to address. It takes a system of support to help a woman who has lost her home, potentially her family and many other facets of her life, back on her feet.
When you donate to United Way NCA, your contribution supports programs that can help people find work, transportation, permanent housing, child care, and more. By donating to United Way NCA, you strengthen that system. And by strengthening the system, you strengthen your entire community.
Our member nonprofit organizations recognize this value. By partnering with United Way NCA, they can spend more of their time and resources fulfilling their mission, rather than on going after dollars. That's why they sign on to be a part of our network.
Why should my company host a United Way NCA Campaign?
United Way NCA's annual fundraising drive is the easiest and most efficient way to give. It brings volunteers and contributors together to enable hundreds of nonprofit organizations to have the farthest reach into their communities. Contributors will see their charity dollars at work. Launching a workplace campaign will bring your staff together to help its community, improving employee morale and building goodwill for your company.
Why should I give to United Way NCA -- why not give directly to an individual charity?
Giving to United Way NCA is the most efficient way to give because:
- United Way NCA adds value to your contribution by providing annual eligibility requirements for charities' budgets and programs, ensuring that your gift is being used effectively.
- United Way NCA's annual campaign efforts give area nonprofits a reliable source of funding without having to allocate scarce resources to solicit individual contributions. These organizations can count on United Way to cost-effectively promote and administer a single campaign that raises money for many causes at once.
- While you may give to other worthy causes as well, view your United Way gift as a "gift to the community," because it supports a network of member nonprofits with wide reaching impact throughout the whole community.
I live in a community outside of Washington, DC. Why should I give?
United Way NCA member nonprofits provide services not only to residents of the District of Columbia but also to people living in surrounding regions. Consider giving to one of our regional Community Impact Funds to help residents in one of the other areas we serve, such as Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax/Falls Church, Prince William, Loudoun, Montgomery, or Prince George's counties.
How do you track the results of my donation?
Our annual eligibility assessment means that our member nonprofits adhere to high standards of performance and fiscal responsibility.
How can I be sure that my donation to United Way NCA will be used efficiently and effectively?
Your donation is a statement of trust in our organization and our ability to serve the community. Because the value of that trust is priceless, we are committed to complete transparency and accountability so you can be assured your dollars make the greatest possible impact. We employ the best practices in fiscal responsibility, including:
- Rigorous independent annual financial audits - with a strong track record of positive results and responsible stewardship
- Strong financial controls
- A dedicated and vigilant Board of Directors
- Monitoring management of performance of individual agencies annually before allocating funds raised in the campaign
- A strict Code of Conduct adopted and signed by all staff, volunteers and an independent ethics officer who monitors adherence.
How much of my United Way NCA donation goes to programs and services?
United Way NCA has long been a leader in low-cost community impact. Our proven consolidated fundraising concept, combined with the generous efforts of our campaign volunteers, helps us maintain low costs and high efficiency.
If I designate "United Way NCA" on my pledge card, where does my donation go?
The easiest way to make a difference in your community; these funds help drive community initiatives and provide the backbone for our continuing support of programs and advocacy throughout the region. Funds may also be directed to the Community Impact Fund, where they're used to address the most serious issues affecting the community, as well as to other important community building initiatives.
How Can I Live United?
Join our community of giving. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and read our community blogs to keep apprised of how we work to advance the common good around our community.