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Frequently Asked Questions

United Way in Your Community

What is United Way?

United Way, an international, volunteer-led not-for-profit organization, has over 100 local United Ways in Canada. United Way is known as Centraide in Quebec and Ottawa and other French speaking communities across Canada.

Each United Way-Centraide raises money and allocates funds locally to support its community. Each United Way-Centraide is governed by an autonomous local Board of Directors that, with other volunteers and staff, helps build caring, vibrant communities and responds to a broad range of human needs.

What geographic area does United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island serve?

United Way serves the following communities:

  • Cowichan - Saltair, Maple Bay, Chemainus, Duncan, Cowichan Lake and Port Renfrew 
  • Central Island, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Gabriola Island, Cedar, Bowser, Errington, Nanoose Bay, Lantzville and Port Alberni
  • Comox Valley, including Cumberland
  • Campbell River 

How does United Way support our community?

United Way focuses on strategies that help achieve better community outcomes by:

1.     Engaging the community's resources: financial, influence, time, knowledge and action.

2.     Focusing on underlying causes of social issues.

3.     Strengthening the network of services and the capacity of nonprofits in the community

Why should I give to United Way?

United Way represents one of the most extensive collaborative approaches to create lasting change in our community.

Each and every contribution becomes part of a major community building effort to improve social conditions, lift people out of poverty and change lives in our community.

United Way's vision is a place where we all live with financial stability and independence; where all neighbourhoods are safe and residents have a sense of well-being; and where all children are getting the right start in life and have the support they need to get them through the middle years, high school graduation and beyond. 

We bring together organizations, businesses, governments and community members who care about the issues we face in Central and Northern Vancouver Island. Together, we work to make the greatest impact possible on the most pressing social issues in the region.

Why would I give through United Way when I can give directly to an agency?

Your donation funds Community Partners in the social services sector in Cowichan, the Central Island region, Comox Valley and Campbell River which has a huge positive impact on thousands of people's lives in your community.

Whether you want to support children and youth, seniors or vulnerable families, by giving to United Way you can get your gift where it will have greatest impact.

United Way does its own research on key issues facing our community and has a dedicated group of volunteer experts who sit on our Impact Councils bringing their wisdom and experience to help us decide which programs are most needed and most effective.

Does organized labour support United Way?

Yes. United Way and labour work together to promote and co-operate in the establishment of joint labour-management campaigns in the workplace. For more information, please contact our office at 250-591-8731. For more information about our relationship with organized labour click here.

Why is it important to give during times of economic uncertainty?

Economic uncertainty puts strain upon us all. It is especially trying for those most vulnerable. It is important to think about families facing loss of a job. It is important to think about the working poor or those living on small fixed incomes having to choose between spending on rent or food.

The truth is that your support of United Way has never been more important than at this moment in time.

Do funds raised by United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island stay in the community?

Your investment goes far, but not far away! All donations stay in the regions we serve - Cowichan, Central Island, Comox Valley and Campbell River - to help address key social issues that have been identified by your community.

What is your charitable business number?

The charitable business number for United Way is 119260537RR0001.

Community Impact Information

What happens to my money after I donate?

United Way determines where funds will be invested by conducting research to find needs and opportunities in the community. With this understanding, we are able to make sure funds are distributed to the most urgent issues. This is done through our Impact Councils. Get more information on the role of the Impact councils visit here.

Where does my money go?

United Way and its supporters focus on three areas that provide the best opportunities to create lasting change in our community.

From Poverty to Possibility

Your donation helps community members who have low income and those experiencing homelessness to gain financial stability and independence.

All That Kids Can Be

From the early years to high school completion, we're supporting the full path of development to help children and youth achieve their potential.

Healthy People, Strong Communities

In working for the overall well-being of community members, we're building the positive environments and social capacity for caring, safe neighbourhoods.

A full list of our 2016-17 Community Partners.

Workplace Information

How much should I give?

Making a contribution to United Way is a personal decision. It's up to you to decide what gift level best reflects your ability to give and your commitment to helping those in need in our community.

How can I give?

Here's how you can contribute to united Way and support your community.

Fill out the United Way pledge card (electronic or paper), available through your workplace campaign.

Additional options include: payroll deductions, pre-authorized payment (cheque or credit card), a one-time donation (cash, cheque or credit card) and a donation through our stocks and securities program.

Donate online.

All donations of $20 or more will be issued a tax receipt.

My spouse gives at work. Do I need to give?

United Way is a total community effort, the results of which benefit everyone. If both spouses work, each is asked to give a share of what he/she earns. You need to make your own decision. Some spouses choose to give separately while others combine their gifts in order to be recognized as Leaders giving $500 or $1,000 and up.

Additional Information

How are agencies evaluated?

As part of our stewardship of financial contributions, United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island has a strong process in place to ensure the best investment of your funds. An experienced committee of volunteers make funding decisions based on community priorities, specific funding criteria and research and community knowledge.

All registered Canadian charities operating local programs may apply for United Way support. The number of funded programs is determined by the amount of dollars raised in the community.

Funding Guidelines and Criteria

Our investment decisions are made within the framework of the following basic criteria:

1.     Alignment with United Way focus areas

2.     Engages and mobilizes community

3.     Addresses community need

4.     Addresses underlying causes of social issues

5.     Has community support

6.     Demonstrates impact

7.     Excellence in performance and leadership

8.     Strong governance

9.     Need for United Way funds

United Way does not fund the following entities or clientele:

1.     Organizations without Business Identification Numbers (Registered Charitable Numbers)

2.     Formal education

3.     Hospitals

4.     For-profit organizations

5.     Political parties

6.     Religious activities

7.     Capital expenditures

8.     Individuals

Can I designate my donation to other charities?

Yes, the option of designating to specific agencies is an added service United Way provides to our donors. Agencies must be Canadian registered charities.

United Way charges a fee if a gift is designated to cover the costs associated with this service.

Why is United Way moving away from designations?

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island is moving away from designations for a few reasons.

Donors want to know in detail how their contributions were used and how they help the vulnerable in our communities. Because of this shift, United Way has moved away from designations mainly because we cannot report back to donors on the use of the dollars. If a donor would like to designate a portion of their gift to another organization United Way will still certainly honour this donor choice. 

United Way is a leader in community investments, ensuring the dollars are focused to where they are needed most. When grants are given to organizations for specific programming there is a certain level of reporting the receiving organization must agree to. When the dollars are strictly for designations to other organizations, this reporting is lost and United Way is unable to report on the use of funds back to the donor.

Instead of Designations a Donor can give to one or several charities that UWCNVI funds through its grant program

Rather than donate to support all the programs funded by UWCNVI this year, a donor can choose one or a few charities UWCNVI funds. These charities are called Community Partners. Donors who give less than $100 may not designate their donation.

Donors who give $100 or more may choose to designate to a CRA registered charity other than UWCNVI and this designation must be clearly stated on their pledge form. Donors who give more than $100 may designate to one charity per $100 of their donation. 

A few examples of why United Way is moving away from designations:

We cannot track how the monies were used.

We do not receive tracking and reporting of the clients served, evaluation methods used, the quality of the program or organization and so on. These are all expectations of funded organizations or Community Partners. This move is a part of the Outcome Measurement Model which we have recently moved to. 

United Way ensures that dollars are not invested into duplicate programming, we fund many organizations which might not otherwise be able to fundraise due to resources or because although they are of difficult subject matter.  Lastly, United Way works very hard to ensure that the local social needs are what we as a community leader invest donor dollars into.

Some of the expectations of Community Partners are:

  • Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • Interim and final reporting
  • Site visits by our Community Investment Committee (CIC) and or Community Impact Council (CIC)
  • Evaluation training
  • Fiscal responsibility through sharing financial reports of the program and or organization

 

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