Frequently Asked Questions
We're sure you have questions. Let us explain.
United Way covers a lot of ground and invests in many programs. The broad scope of our work can make it a challenge to explain what we do. Hopefully this video can answer some of the most common questions we are asked about who we are, how we operate, and what we do.
(0:18) - If you were to ask the man on the street what United Way does, do you think you'd get the same answer every time?
(0:32) - What is the 2-1-1 program?
(0:53) - Is it true that United Way of West Tennessee only serves Jackson?
(1:06) - Can you only give to United Way through workplace giving?
(1:38) - Do people come in here looking for assistance?
(1:58) - Is it true that when you give to United Way, your money will be spread all over the country?
(2:51) - What is your mission?
(3:13) - What is donor directed giving?
(3:35) - Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to another charity?
Can't watch a video right now? Read some answers instead.
- How will my gift to the United Way be invested?
- What is 211?
- What is the difference between United Way of West Tennessee and United Way Worldwide?
- Can I make a contribution to my favorite nonprofit even if it's not one of your funded agencies?
- What's your overhead?
- Count me in! How can I contribute?
How will my gift to the United Way be invested?
Your gift to United Way of West Tennessee joins hundreds of other regional contributions to change the odds for our friends, neighbors, and coworkers who cannot make ends meet. Through your generosity, we are able to able to partner with nonprofits to fund more than 100 programs that address critical needs in our communities.
In addition, we provide innovative poverty-fighting programs such as:
- 211: United Way’s free helpline to connect people to food, shelter, emergency assistance, and other vital services.
- VITA: United Way’s free tax preparation service, offered to households that meet our maximum income requirements; utilized to ensure that low-income families make the most of the tax credits they’re eligible for.
United Way also plays a leadership role in West Tennessee. We work hard to bring companies, nonprofits, and individuals together to develop larger strategies and use the power of our collective impact to tackle the greatest problems facing our communities.
What is 211?
211 is a toll-free helpline that connects people with important community resources like food, shelter, emergency assistance, and more. A nationwide service, anyone who dials will be connected to the United Way in their area.
What is the difference between United Way of West Tennessee and United Way Worldwide?
Although we’re a part of the national “United Way” movement that’s focused on measurable community impact, United Way of West Tennessee is an independent, volunteer-driven nonprofit organization serving 14 counties in West Tennessee. We pay dues to United Way Worldwide and receive membership as a United Way organization to receive benefits such as training and branding infrastructure. We operate autonomously— with the flexibility to address the specific needs of our area—while maintaining the ability to draw on the best ideas of United Ways throughout the country. Although United Ways share a logo and have similar missions, each United Way is independently operated by local staff and volunteers.
Can I make a contribution to my favorite nonprofit even if it's not one of your funded agencies?
Yes. You can make a contribution to the 501(c)3 health and human service organization of your choice by writing the name and address of the organization on your pledge card. Giving through United Way reduces costly and time-consuming fundraising efforts for your favorite agency so that their time can be better spent serving community members.
What's your overhead?
United Way of West Tennessee’s overhead expense ratio is 9% based on our IRS Form 990 tax return. When you give to UWWT, 85% of your gift directly funds programs that are made possible by our partnerships with local nonprofits. (The Better Business Bureau suggests this ratio be no more than 35% of each donation for nonprofits).
In addition, another 6% of your donation will impact the community through one of the services offered directly from our office (2-1-1, VITA, Disaster Relief, etc.)
We keep our expenses low through a commitment to organizational efficiency, a high level of volunteer participation, firm sponsorships, and in-kind services offered by local companies.
Count me in! How can I contribute?
Payroll deduction is our most popular method of contribution - A small amount is withheld from your paycheck each pay period, allowing you to make a small contributions throughout the year that add up to a much larger impact. Or, just click the donate button above to make an online payment!