We view philanthropy as an investment in your community and like any good investor we encourage you to ask questions and stay connected with the results your investment is producing. With that in mind, we have prepared a list of frequently asked questions.
If you do not find your question listed here or would like more information, please feel free to contact our office.
Q: I never use agency services. Why should I give?
A: The strength of a community is directly influenced by the health, happiness and well-being of its residents. Every day, United Way funded agencies and programs are helping people—your friends, co-workers, and neighbors—deal with many health and human-service issues. Your continuing financial and volunteer support ensures that help is there for everyone when it is needed. While you or your family may not need help from a United Way-funded agency, you or someone you care about may need services in the future.
Q: I want to give, but would like my contribution to go to a specific organization.
A: The value of United Way of Northwest Illinois Inc. is the extensive allocation process that evaluates community need, outcome measurements, leveraged dollars, etc. The additional value is that when you donate to United Way, our communities comes from the organization that thousands of individuals in Northwest Illinois—your neighbors, your co-workers, your family, and your friends—donate to is through our Community Care Fund. When you chose to contribute to the Community Care Fund, you multiply your impact, doing more than you ever could alone. However, if you wish your gift to help only a targeted segment of the community through only one organization, the United Way offers the service to donors to designate your gift.
Q: Why aren't all human-service agencies included in the United Way?
A: The United Way has a history of admitting new agencies. Community volunteers review applicant programs to make certain they meet critical community needs and adhere to acceptable standards of performance. However, some agencies cannot meet United Way membership standards, while others follow national policies that require that they operate independently. Still, others are not admitted because their programs closely resemble or duplicate existing programs available to the population being served. Also, there are some fine agencies locally able to support their programs without United Way funding.
Q: Why do some agencies charge fees?
A: Some agencies charge fees for services. Such fees are usually scaled to reflect consideration of the individual's ability to pay. This sliding scale makes it possible to stretch your United Way dollars and allows many more people to receive help. While some services may be limited due to funds available, no one is refused service because of inability to pay.
Q: I prefer to give to my favorite charity.
A: You are a caring person. Please continue to give to your favorite charity, but also support the network of United Way services that includes our member agencies and programs. Our professional and volunteers' expertise is knowing where your gift is needed and where it can do the most good locally. There is no other single organization that has the capacity to address all aspects of our communities' needs. Only the United Way can bring the resources together to focus on key problems and issues that affect Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties.
Q: How do I deal with all of the donation requests I receive?
A: The reason the United Way exists is to avoid this problem. The United Way combines many fund drives into one organized, annual area-wide campaign. Instead of each member agency asking you for money, the United Way asks you only once each year on behalf of all the agencies.
Q: I prefer to give on a national level for a bigger purpose.
A: That's wonderful, but there are also vital needs right here in our communities. The United Way campaign is an opportunity for all of us to give back to the community which gives to us.
Q: I feel like I'm being pressured to give to the United Way.
A: No one should be pressured into giving. The United Way is based on the concept of voluntary giving. The best, most responsive giving comes voluntarily, from informed contributors.
Q: I volunteer, shouldn't that be considered my contribution?
A: Volunteer work is very important and giving your time and talents through volunteerism is greatly appreciated. However, in order to continue to provide services to the entire community, the agencies also need your financial support.
Q: What if I can't afford to give?
A: Only you can decide if you can or cannot afford to support United Way-funded agencies and programs. Even a small amount each pay period through payroll deduction can add up to a substantial contribution. It costs so little...to give so much.
Q: Does my money go as handouts to people who refuse to help themselves?
A: No. Most of the problems United Way agencies address know no social or economic boundaries. Mental illness, stress, marital problems, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, and substance abuse can affect anyone. And thanks to your contributions, if you or anyone you know is ever faced with a problem like this, United Way agencies are here to help.
Q: Is my contribution spent on campaign luncheons and dinners?
A: No. Meals at events are paid for by volunteers out of their own pockets or by corporate sponsors who pay for their employees to attend. The annual kickoff is completely paid for through in-kind donations and corporate sponsorships.
Q: Is my contribution spent on the annual United Way campaign kickoff?
A: No. Generous corporate sponsors provide contributions and in-kind gifts to cover all campaign kickoff-related expenses.
Q: The United Way supports an agency I do not like.
A: Please try to think of the larger good for the community. The United Way campaign supports member agencies in Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties that provide vital services such as emergency food and shelter, daycare for children, meals for seniors, and numerous counseling programs. You can designate your gift to a specific Area of Caring or to a specific agency.
Q: Does the United Way of Northwest Illinois fund abortions?
A: No. Contributions to the United Way of Northwest Illinois, Inc. are not used by or distributed to an organization that performs abortions or offer abortion counseling services.
Q: Does the United Way of Northwest Illinois fund the local Boy Scouts?
A: Yes. Each United Way makes their own decision to fund agency programs independent of other United Ways. We continue to fund programs based on their local track record of serving youth. We encourage our member agencies to pursue practices that promote diversity. Our bylaws require that agency services are open to all persons, without unlawful discrimination