What is United Way?
When we hear the question, “What is United Way?” we smile to ourselves, because we sometimes get mistaken with banks, healthcare service providers, and other types of businesses.
We are a national organization with 3 key focus areas: Education, Healthcare, and Financial Stability. Our particular United Way is located in Huntsville Alabama and serves Madison County. We conduct a community needs assessment every 3 years to determine the greatest needs. Then, we vet partner nonprofit organizations whose services most effectively can meet the greatest needs.
You can get involved in one or all of these ways: Donate, Advocate, and/or Volunteer. Our donors typically give automatically from their paychecks through their places of employment, but we also have individual and corporate donors. United Way works to make change at the local and national levels by advocating for issues within our 3 focus areas. We also match our partner nonprofits’ needs with our volunteers’ passions and help volunteers get plugged in.
How is United Way different from other nonprofit organizations?
United Way takes on the problems that one person or one agency cannot solve alone. We go beyond fundraising by researching the needs of the community and bringing the right resources and people together to solve tough local issues. No other nonprofit brings together government, businesses, religious organizations, and nonprofits to develop health and human service strategies. We fund programs that are meeting people’s needs today, and we are working on innovative solutions for lasting change. In addition to raising funds and investing them back into the local community, United Way also leads the community in times of need.
How does my agency get funding from United Way?
Participate in our grant process to become a partner agency:
United Way of Madison County partnerships and funding of programs are established on a three-year basis to allow for implementation, growth, and accountability. The next opportunity to be considered as a United Way partner agency will be in January 2025. RFP (Requests for Proposals) are typically announced publicly.
Only those who receive local grant funding from our organization are authorized to identify as United Way partner agencies.
If you have an interest in partnering in this way with United Way in the future and receiving grant funding from our organization, we invite you to add your organization to an “interest list” by contacting our Community Impact Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 256-518-8203.
United Way is not likely to be able to partner, with limited resources, with every organization that aligns with our focus but this is a good place to begin. The fact that an organization does not qualify or win a grant award from United Way does not mean that there are no additional ways to work together.
Smaller funding opportunities may be available within the three-year window of investment from United Way of Madison County, and if your organization is strongly aligned with our focus, you are most welcome to contact us for more details and to learn how to be considered for those interim opportunities.
Using a Logic Model to Inform and Plan Your Program:
A logic model is a tool commonly used in grant applications with funders. It is also a current requirement in United Way of Madison County funding applications.
Becoming familiar with this tool can help you in your agency’s planning and program development and evaluation, regardless of whether you apply for United Way of Madison County funding. The logic model requirements for United Way are specific and may differ slightly from those shown in these resources but, essentially, they are very similar and these links are excellent learning tools.
Why should I give to the Impact fund and not a specific agency? Do the agencies get the same amount no matter what?
Giving to the Impact Fund helps protect a safety net of services for the most vulnerable in our community, including those in immediate crisis. It also allows you to invest in long-term solutions to our most pressing community needs in the areas of education, financial stability, AND health.
All money undesignated or designated to the Impact Fund goes into the allocations to our agencies. All money designated to agencies goes directly to those agencies and does not affect the amount of money those agencies will receive from the allocations. Any designations made to an agency will increase the amount of money that the agency would otherwise receive.
How do people get help from United Way?
United Way supports over 40 programs that help people every day. People looking for assistance can dial 2-1-1 on their phone for non-emergency information. Learn more about 2-1-1 here (link to 2-1-1 Information & Referral Page). Other resources include:
How much of my donation is retained by United Way?
Less than eighteen cents of every dollar raised by our United Way is used for administration costs, making it one of the lowest overhead costs of any major nonprofit organization. United Way of Madison County is efficient because community support keeps costs low, including extensive volunteer leadership and in-kind donations.