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Oct 1, 2015

Things That May Surprise You About Giving To The United Way

Sponsored Content provided by Chris Nelson - President, United Way of the Cape Fear Area

Many of you have either participated in a United Way campaign at your workplace or know of someone who has. Some of you have told us that you used to feel “pressured” into giving at your company and since retirement, haven’t given or gotten involved again. And others have told us you would love to start giving again, but simply need more information about where your money goes and who it helps. United Way has heard you and can help you get started.
First of all, if you already run a workplace campaign, thank you! You are the backbone of what United Way does and workplace campaigns are one of the most important ways we can help fund programs and services that address the highest-priority needs in our local community.
Secondly, it’s important to realize that no company or leader in an organization should ever make you feel that you “must” donate to United Way. That’s simply not how we work and never have. We come to your workplace and we show you how you can make a difference. We tell you what we do and talk to you about how you can get involved with the community through United Way. We help YOU follow YOUR passion. And we welcome any questions you might have along the way. We essentially work for you! And we’re extremely proud of that.
In addition, United Way of the Cape Fear Area prides itself in taking VERY good care of the donor dollars we receive from you. We have countless community volunteers, from major companies across the Cape Fear area, who are involved in committees and on investment teams that ultimately decide how your dollars are spent. THEY work for you too each day, finding the most efficient and effective solutions to our community’s most pressing issues. Together, we all make sure your gifts, big or small, are doing exactly what you want them to do. Right here in your own backyard.
Here’s how it works: United Way raises dollars in the community. Every health and human service nonprofit is then able to submit a grant to receive dollars raised. These grants define specific programs that fall into three key areas: education, financial stability and health, and rotate on a three-year cycle.
Once grants are evaluated and scored, agencies present to the committee and talk about their programs. They are asked to provide financial information and outcomes that define their program. This extensive, competitive funding process results in your donor dollars being spent in the most efficient manner, helping to pay for programs that will change lives for the better.
And because of the three-year grant process, programs that do receive funding have the ability and time to get their programs off the ground while leveraging additional dollars to help sustain their programs for the future.  
But it doesn’t stop there. Our donors have asked us to pay attention to these programs after funding is received to make sure their dollars are being spent wisely. So United Way developed a process to do just that. On a quarterly basis, all funded agencies are required to report on their programs and outcomes and asked to keep United Way up-to-date on any issues or problems that arise. United Way then has the ability to work with a variety of different agencies and the community at large, to help monitor outcomes and to make sure programs are run with the utmost efficiency.
As for our retirees who have moved to our area to relax and enjoy our beautiful coastal environment? We’d love for you to learn about United Way and get involved with community efforts. You may not be involved with workplace campaigns anymore, but that just means that you may have more time to sit on one of our investment teams or volunteer for one of our events. Your expertise is invaluable to us! And of course, any generous donations you choose to give to your local community through our Community Impact Process would be used in the most efficient way possible.
Finally, if you have never been involved with United Way, give us a call or come talk to us. You have no idea how much fun we are! We love working with local folks who get so excited about making an impact in our community. And our staff has the best time doing it too. You can reach us at or 910-798-3900. Make and impact!
Christopher L. Nelson is president of the United Way of the Cape Fear Area, a local nonprofit organization. Since 1941, the United Way of the Cape Fear Area has worked alongside local agencies in Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties to assist them in providing substantial and sustainable change within the Cape Fear area. To learn more about the United Way of the Cape Fear Region, go to or call 910-798-3900.

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