Friday, November 08, 2013

WhyYou Should Never Donate to the United Way

If something comes up on my radar once, I usually ignore it.

If something shows up twice, ehh...most likely coincidence.

Three times may be a short term trend.

But when it comes up FIVE times, then I know somethings amiss.

And something is terribly amiss with The United Way.

I have been out of the work force for quite sometime.  And when I was in the work force, my wonderfully clam and amicable demeanor told any HR rep or manager never to ask me to donate to charity.  It was very clear I was a stringent fiscal libertarian and really have no pity for the poor as I too was once poor and managed to get myself out of without a single penny of help from anybody.

But with an e-mail from a fan, "Rich," it makes now SIX times that I've heard about employees being forced or arm twisted by their bosses or their HR managers to donate to The United Way.

So I decided to do some research, and hokie smokes, it's a god damned epidemic.  The most "authoritative" article (I guess) was this one here from the SF Gate.  But a basic Bing search pulls up hundreds of stories, articles, discussion boards, etc. about how (in addition to a 40% tax rate) they're forced to donate to the United Way.

Why the United Way is so prevalent, and no other charities are mentioned, I do not know.  And whereas my intellectually honest mind says, "There probably are other charities like this," my cynical and statistical mind says, "no, there's something nefarious going on here.  The United Way would not be mentioned so frequently."

So lieutenants, economists, agents in the field, children, and Cappy Cappites, how about we flex this here new-found media muscle and do our best to dissuade people from donating to the United Way?  Charity ought to be optional, not forced or coerced.  And since we're already forced and coerced by liberals via the government to donate to their pet charities, the least we can do is tell the HR bitch and the manager douche to shove it next time they ask us to donate to the United Way.


Anonymous said...

When I found out that United Way supported abortion, I dug in my heals and stated in a loud and somewhat angry voice that I refused to donate to an organization which supported the murder of the unborn children. Despite their efforts to cajole me by saying that I could dictate where my money went, which itself is a fraudulent statement, I flat out refused. The company U.W. rep left me alone after that and nobody bothered me for a donation after that.

Anonymous said...

What the hell could the motivation be for this level of coerced alterism in corporate management?
To me, that could be the real story.
This also happens to an even worse degree in the U.S. Military.
So, whatever the 'hook' is, it exists there too.

Anonymous said...

The CEO of this and many other charities, make way too much money. Sorry, but a half million dollar salary, is way over the top for a charity.

And yes, many employees get harassed into donating money. This is a very common story.

Well you can take your million dollar salary and shove it. I ain`t donating here no more.

Bob Wallace said...

You think that's bad, check into the Red Cross and how they treated soldiers. "Here, officer, have steak and potatoes. Here, grunt, have bad coffee and stale donuts."

They underpay their employees and the "executives" are grossly overcompensated. Most of those on the Board of Directors are politically connected, too. Think Elisabeth Dole.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Pull a Whatley..

The Human Fund: Money For People.

Southern Man said...

You're just noticing this? Every place I've worked they distribute forms to every employee to payroll-deduct ten bucks a month or so for the scammers of United Way. The pressure is pervasive; every department head is "encouraged" to have 100% participation. I used to kick in a buck a month for my staffers just to keep my boss happy. And then I write an extra check to a local outfit that's always pooh-poohed in the papers but spends something like 85% of their donations directly on their charitable designees.

Teddy said...

When I worked for Westinghouse in the early 80s, it was made clear to me that if I expected to get anywhere in the company, I would donate to United Way. I told them, in a nice way, to shove it. I always felt like I was in a re-education camp when they would have United Way rallies.

Anthony said...

In college (the first time around), I had an economics professor of the very libertarian persuasion. She's also one of those people who worked up from nothing. Instead of donating to charity, she started her own school for disadvantaged students on her own time once she'd made enough. No handouts, no middleman, no emotional/workplace manipulation, just giving people tools to help themselves succeed. If they chose to utilize those tools, they could become productive and successful. If they chose not to, well, tough cookies.
She also helped out in severely impoverished areas of the world like Africa where if you're poor, it in all likelihood not your doing; There are no philosophy majors in sub-saharan Africa.

Anonymous said...

This is very common - often times managers are actually rated on the percentage of their employees who "participate" and said manager can even be reprimanded if participation is too low. The last time I was asked I said no and my manager explained that he'd get in trouble if he got less than 100% participation. I told him to give me the amount he wanted me to contribute from my paycheck in cash and I'd be happy to do it. He actually opened his wallet and gave me $20! I cannot imagine what kind of crap he was getting from his superiors if it was worth $20 to him!

Rosalys said...

I have never donated to the United Way. Decades ago, when I learned of the way employers pressure their employees to sign up because it makes them look good I told myself, "Never have anything to do with this organization."

Rosalys said...

I have never donated to the United Way. Decades ago, when I learned of the way employers pressure their employees to sign up because it makes them look good I told myself, "Never have anything to do with this organization."

Anonymous said...

I learned many years ago from insiders that this group is as corrupt as any politician or worse. I wouldn't give these assholes a bag of dog shit let alone my cash!!

sth_txs said...

I have no problems with charities as an idea. If you want to the most good, keep donations strictly local.

I'm not real fond of national organizations.

Anonymous said...

You should probably consider removing this thread. The United Way does some great work, and I am not forced to donate to United Way (In fact, I have not and probably will not donate because I am cheap). It seems like you have issue with the employers.

dance...dancetotheradio said...

The United Way fosters a culture of intimidation and guilt-sploitation.
I won't give them money, ever.
Twelve years ago, I was a newbie in a department head meeting enduring a United Way presentation.
After a short introduction, the professional fundraiser worth three times our salaries, pushed a pathetic affirmative action hire with a sob story up front to make the plea for 'help'.
My fellow department heads eagerly signed up with spirited back slapping generosity.
"How much did you give?"
I put zero on my form and handed it to the housekeeping manager in charge of donations.
He said, "Nothing? Surely you can give something."
I said I make $32k a year, $22k after tax.
Minus bills, I have less than a thousand dollars a month to keep my wife and two babies in food and formula and diapers in our little two bedroom apartment.
He said, "But, you're a department head, you need to set an example for your staff."
I said, we, as relatively fortunate salaried employees can't make it.
I will not pimp this to my staff who mostly do not get to work forty hours for minimum wage.
They have trouble making ends meet and you want to hit them up for money so you can be the feel good fundraising guy getting the attaboy when you stand up in church.
Your kids are grown and earning their keep.
I know because our boss forced me to hire two of them to work for me in banquets.
Your daughter just quit to get married, at seventeen, to the first guy who looked her way.
And your son got fired a few days ago for pissing off the penthouse balcony.
Just last week, your former boss, the front desk manager, who you allegedly schtupped while your wife was raising your four kids, suggested we start a furniture bank for staff who couldn't get by on what they were paid here.
He said, "It's only a few bucks a paycheque. You can manage that, can't you?"
I said, look, I work more than fifty hours a week and I deserve some happiness, too.
When I get home at three in the morning, I'd like to have a couple of beers before I go to sleep.
There are days before the next payday that I have to forgo that.
I will not forgo more just to make you the happy big man.
He said, "But, you could really help these people."
I said, you already help these people, Scott.
You give them jobs in your housekeeping department.
And our boss gives our clients kids jobs in mine.
Charity starts at home.

Anonymous said...

you ain't alone, brother

Google "The United Way Sucks"

About 4,320,000 hits

Unknown said...

Where you been? United Way's MO has always been to get management to pressure employees into donating.

United Way's folks target big company managers, fill them with nice dinners and pretty stories about being nice to the unfortunate. Then the managers' egos are massaged and greased about what wonderful human beings and community leaders they are. The managers then lean on their employees to subsidize the lifestyles of United Way executives. The corporate managers thus feel great about donating someone else's money.

Anonymous said...

Xerox also "encouraged" 100% participation which I did when I was younger. Once I found out how liberal UW is and how much $ their execs made I decided to turn off my monthly donation. The problem was finding out exactly how to turn it off. It took multiple emails and phone calls before I got to the right person. They don't make it easy probably so you just give up and keep the $ rolling in. Of course setting up your donation is as easy as pie. Turing it off....not so much.

Larry Sheldon said...

An old old story. For years and years (going back into the 1960s) my answer to the door-to-door folks was "I am required top give at work as a condition of employment".

Nobody ever even once debated that.

Anonymous said...

The United Way also provides an "enabling shell" for other charitable drives and organizations.

The Department of Defense (and perhaps other FedGov agencies) has the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Basically it is the sole month-long charity drive we have in DOD so we don't have to be pecked to death by small drives all year long.

There is a CFC catalog with charities which can accept your donation through CFC--along with the percentage they spend on their internal overhead, i.e. admin costs. In my Service (USAF), there is 100% CONTACT, not 100% participation (though it didn't used to be this way).

Who provides the logistics support for CFC, while taking 6% off the top of all contributions? You guessed it: the United Way.

I pick a charity or two from the catalog (usually the local Fisher House) and make a direct donation to that organization. I refuse to donate to CFC, solely because of the Untied Way's involvement.

C.J. Caswell said...

Corporations like the United Way for two things: charitable appearances and charity tax benefits. I've had two employers that collected UW donations in some sort of program, and the idea was always dollar for dollar matching, the company matching employee contributions.

That doesn't perfectly explain why they do it, as they don't need to push their employees into donating in order to donate themselves. I'd imaging it has something to do with maintaining appearances and connecting local people to their talk about being part of the community.

"Our employees donated $X to the UW! We care!"

"Also, you voters should tell the city council not to rescind our tax abatement."

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I just got a voice-mail from an executive in my organization (several pay grades above me) reading from an obvious script cajoling me to sign up and donate. Kicker is he used my name several times to "personalize" the message.
What I want to know is what are upper management and businesses owners getting for all this neurotic harassment of employees?

Hamilton said...

Yeah, this has been going on since the 1980's as far as I can tell. It's pretty disgusting the way it all operates. We are pressured in the manner similar to what Southern Man describes. Luckily my managers for the last 8 years are not fond of the United Way so they have never personally asked anyone to contribute.
A funny story, every now and then they have a person who took charity from the United Way come to businesses and describe their situation and how United Way helped them. They sent a guy to a big meeting at my company. I work for a very conservative group in the South. The guy was gay and he describe how he and his boyfriend lived in a bad neighborhood cause they were poor. They began to get mean looks from some people around their apartment. It made them feel like they would soon get "gay bashed" and they wanted to move. But they didn't have the money. In swoops the United Way who set them up in new digs in a gay friendly neighborhood.
Jaws dropped at the story and many people just walked out in the middle of it's telling. This was 6 years ago and people still refuse to give cause that guys story. It was awesome.
And yes, United Way supports abortion and has for decades.
Also, they are deeply involved with the NFL. Two of my buddies played for different NFL teams and they were forced to give their free time and money to those gangstas.

Aurini said...

While I can't speak generally, I've interviewed one of the head guys for The Mustard Seed here in Calgary (a help-get-homeless-off-the-street-and-find-them-jobs charity), and he was a deeply dedicated man who understood the challenges of homelessness, and was realistic about the whole matter - that some homeless aren't ready to be helped.

My two cents: if you want to donate to charity, toss some money their way.

Whitehall said...

When I was working in Silicon Valley, the local UW guy came in and gave a presentation to us to encourage signups.

When he started singing the praises of a program they backed to help illegals do their income taxes, I raised my hand and noted that this REALLY meant that this was helping them get Earned Income Tax Credits - essentially cash welfare from the IRS.

This was increasing the cost of government for all that worked in the room and paid taxes.

I walked out and didn't give a cent.

Ralph said...

Back in the 70"s the United Way hired my sister's deadbeat ex-husband and paid him cash so he wouldn't have to pay his child support. They have never got a penny from me.

Anonymous said...

Please , I beg of you , do not give those left wing extreamis a cent. due to the intracacies of labor law, they can't actually do anything to you for not signing up. the pressure is 100% bluff. I work for a company that requires you to fill out a form every year. I have always put 0 as the contibution.
the web is full of scams, scheams and political schenanigans of the united way. Basicly they use their size to crowd out legit charities, and us the money they get to push liberal causes like amnesty and promoting gay rights and welfare rights .
look at their motto:

give- self explanitory
advocate- for left wing causes
volenteer- after the government and the "charities " have all your money , and very little gets to the poor. they want you to work for free to do the jobs you have given moneyto charities and paid taxes to get done but are not being done.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

dance - I would never give them that much explanation. Too many hooks for them to try and argue with you. "No," is a perfectly good explanation. If you want to say may, tell them you have other charities, and you don't like this one.

Anonymous said...

Want to know how to lose a job with a prominent politician?

Refuse to sign up for payroll deductions for the United Way, thereby rendering said politician unable to say his office is 100% behind it.

Anonymous said...

Happened to me in 1978. I was just out of school and in debt. Not a cent.

Anonymous said...

There is pressure to contribute at my company, but it is subtle. What changed it for me though, was when they allowed us to direct funding to specific charities.

Now I realize that the UW skims off 15% off the top for an agency fee, but I look at it from this perspective - would I give to the specific charities on my own if I had to write a check.

Probably not.

Remember when the UW made a fuss-party about dropping the Boy Scouts as a charity? When they proposed that, the Boy Scout got a donation from me to make a point. Every year, that donation tells the UW "Fugeddaboutit".

My employer contacts with a sheltered workshop for the mentally and physically handicapped. About 5 years ago, they cut the employment of these workers in half. I added them to my charity list. Just because mt employer has no class doesn't mean I don't.

And I give to the Salvation Army. They really know how to stretch a buck and they really do the best of any large charity. You may argue with the means, but nobody does more good with less.

Our company's loves to break its arms patting itself on the back for their contributions. This really pisses off the employees that give and has caused quite a few to donate outside of the UW.

It really doesn't matter, because my company is so misled and mis-managed that it's failure is inevitable. Maybe it will survive 5 years, but probably not much more.

Kristophr said...

UW donations are often used by the politically correct in a corp to weed out conservatives.

When the Hatch act was ( temporarily ) repealed during the start of the Clinton administration, failure to donate was used as a litmus test to decide who to force out or demote inside the federal bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

Back when I worked in the District of Corruption for Company X, we had the annual United Way drive with all the attendant sob stories and pressure to contribute.

I actually looked at the brochure that was handed out; one of UW's recipient agencies in DC was BonaBond, listed as "assisting with providing bond release for those unable to obtain it from other sources." WTF, over? If a Bail Bondsman considers someone too great a risk to trust him with bail, you want to use my money to put him back on the street? NFW.

I've been completely, absolutely, totally opposed to anything and everything United Way since.

As a side note, one can contribute through United Way to any 501(c)(3) organization; it really, really, really pisses them off when you write in "NRA Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund" and then keep checking to make sure NRA got the money. Pro tip: make your contribution by check, payable to "NRA Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund via United Way Campaign 2013" (or whatever the year is).

paulmurray said...

Most charities, a lot of your dollar goes to "administration". UW makes this 10 times worse.

How? Well, UW gets to decide which of its client charities gets what. So to get a decent cut of the pie, a charity has to shmooze UW itself. "Entertainment".

In other words: bribes and kickbacks.

And if personnel is getting in on the act, that means that there are bribes and kickbacks going to the company.

How much is left to actually pay for food for the blind orphan kids? If you think it's as much as one dollar in ten, you are dreaming.

Eric Mueller said...

I used to work for BAE Systems, which was big on United Way. I'd usually use the United Way days to call out sick, or if I forgot about it I'd slip out and have lunch during the UW event.

Liberals, for some reason, seem incapable of giving money away without being forced to by taxes and corporate charity drives. I once had an argument with a liberal about how we need high taxes to make sure people get helped. I asked him how much he gives away to help others. His response was "I don't have to. That's what taxes are for."

I make it a point to give a part of each paycheck. I take care of my own causes. I don't need leftist-friendly drives to force me to give.

Eric Mueller said...

I already submitted a comment before I thought of this one. During my first year in the Navy, I experienced the Combined Federal Campaign. They were dead set on 100% command participation.

When they came around to me, I didn't have anything to give. As an E-2 with a truck payment and Chicago area insurance for an 18 year old male, I only had about $20 a check left over to buy soap and shaving cream with. This one ass hat made me draw up my entire budget to prove I couldn't give $20 a month to the CFC. I swore at that moment I would never participate in an organizational charity drive. I've stuck to it for 21 years.

kurt9 said...

There is a more fundamental issue with charities such as the UW. Supposedly, these charities were created to solve certain social problems. Yet, these organizations have been around for many decades. The problems they were supposed to solve also still exist. This tells you that whatever they are doing and have been doing over the past decades, does not work.

They need to try something different. The fact that they do not is the clearest indication that these charities, in fact, do not exist to solve the problems they were supposed to solve. Rather, they exist to reward the insiders who manage and run these organizations. In other words, they are all fraudulent.

This is the single best reason never to give money to these organizations.

Celtic Tiger Dad said...

Turn the guilt-trip method in the other direction and tell your manager, "I already give all I can to various charities. Are you requiring me to dump my favorite charities and instead give to your favorite charity? I think we'd both feel awfully guilty if we did that."

Anonymous said...

Here's one for you Cap:

Feminists must be patting themselves on their collective backs for this one.
I give them a thumbs up for getting girls and women to wear more feminine attire. They get 10 thumbs down for trying to put boys/men into dresses.

The money raised goes to help GIRLS in Africa go to school. So, put simply, lets emasculate boys in our own country to help raise money to send girls in other countries to school!

Faithless Cynic said...

United Way is beyond crooked. The director of the national organisation did time for skimming funds. Google the words " William Aramony United Way " for the full story. I got in trouble for writing SCREW ARAMONY on my contribution form :-) The state organization in Delaware did some shady stuff but managed to hush it up. Why donate to crooks? You already pay taxes to support Parasite Nation.

cgk said...

I too have the demeanor of a mollusk! Hokie Smokes!

Anonymous said...

I was highly coerced into contributing to the United Way when I worked at HP in the 1980s.

The Oracle said...

I've hate the United Way since October, 1965, when I drew my first pay in Air Force basic training ($22) and was ordered to give $1 of it to the United Way of Greater San Antonio, Texas.
When I worked for The Indianapolis News, I responded to the pressure by authorizing the company to take $1 from my paycheck in 10-cent weekly installments, costing them more in accounting time than they made from me. After a couple of years, the practice was banned and I stopped giving altogether.

Anonymous said...

I like Modest Needs at, because:

They have a very low overhead/admin/advertising expense (about 5%). Their audited financial statements are available online.

I like their philosophy that charity should be personal, and should be in response to an unforseen circumstance, and should be aimed at getting a person back on their feet.

Last I looked they didn't take any government money.

Whenever the United Way pressure starts up, I explain that I already have a charity program in place, and start talking about why I like it. Kind of like trying to convert the jehovah's witness at your door to vegetarianism...

Anonymous said...

When our HR administrator brought the local UW rep around handing out donation forms, my department director tore his into pieces in front of them and tossed it in the trash. He's kinda proud of the fact that his department gets a zero percent UW participation rate...

wheels said...

When I was in the Navy back in the 70s, I donated to CFC through United Way, specifying that my donations were to go to two specific, smaller, charities.

I stopped donating when I found that my directions were ignored. The way it worked is that the larger charities would contract with UW for specific amounts from the drive, and only after they got their amounts were the donor's directions on where money was to go examined. Thus, unless the targets were exceeded, the smaller charities may not see anything.

Hershblogger said...

I have worked for several employers who pressured employees to give to the United Way. One such company had partners on the United Way Board of Directors, for the purpose of appearing to be good guys in the community. Obviously, employees had to be coerced to contribute.

There was the obligatory disclaimer that the company didn't "require" contribution, but the pressure included an extra "casual day" for each branch office with 100% participation. Your refusal to contribute would affect all your co-workers.

Supposedly, your decision was a private matter, but obviously not turning in the envelope was a clue, and obviously the HR & Payroll people knew.

They also employed the canard that you could direct your contributions in order to avoid supporting "charities" of which you did not approve. I should add that this was a CPA firm, but no one seemed to understand the word "fungible" when making this argument.

Cloudbuster said...

Mark me up as another person who used to work at a company that pressured employees to contribute. What I got flack for was that I would even refuse to fill out the form and put down "$0" -- "Why won't you fill out the form?" my boss always asked. I always told him I didn't want to legitimize their request. My assumption is that he just eventually gave up and filled out the form for me. I just knew that if an organization was pressuring you that hard, it couldn't be up to any good.

Anonymous said...

Can a company be sued when they offer prizes in raffles to those who donate and those who don't aren't in the raffle. or IF you donate you get an extra day off while if you don't you have to work the day after Thanksgiving. Seems to me this is blackmail \ extortion at the very least bribery.. This has to be discrimination of some sort. I WILL NOT donate to UW in any form. and yet I still get at least 3 emails a day from HR on how I should donate.... I have kept a copy of each one just in case I find an Atty who will file a class action for those of us who will not donate.

Caylen said...

To all of you: United Way is not the one forcing these companies to have employees participate in payroll deductions. Its the companies. Each United Way is run by their own community. If one United Way supports an agency that provides abortion funding to women it doesn't mean the rest of them do. Make sure to get all the facts. Volunteers from each individual community decide what programs in their area should be funded that applied for United Way Funding. Every community is different. I know this is not going to change your mind and how you view United Way but please consider the other side. Payroll deduction is a very beneficial way to provide help to the non profits in your area. You don't miss the $1 per pay period and it's not taxed. Those dollars add up and really make difference in people's lives. rates the United Way very highly at 65 points out of a possible 70. Many of the organizations that you may have never given a second thought about donating to probably don't come with nearly as good of a rating. Quit being so negative over something you may not have all the information about. Each United Way is locally owned and operated. Yes there is Worldwide but his salary is not coming for individuals donors. Corporate Company partner with Worldwide. He is the ONLY Worldwide President and CEO for a non profit. He has a lot on his plate and ask these County School Superintendents how much they make a year and in small counties. His salary is not taking away from the people that need it.

Anonymous said...

I have never been a fan of United Way, when I was in my 20's working for a factory, I was pressured to donate ot the United Way just like I was pressured to join the Union. Note: in the South, the Union is not like it is in the North.

Fast forward many years to the past few years, I knew someone that worked for the United Way. I witnessed many fine dining at expensive restuarants, high dollar in the $1,000's traveling expenses for their staff to high dollar seminars.

Even with high paid key note speakers like Dan Pollata whose key note speech is about how non-profits should hire top paid executives.

If you are donating to the United way you are paying salaries of executive with some salaries around $80,000 to over $100,000 per year and their expenses on top of that.

Many United Ways are focusing on goverment grants for their 211 call centers now. So they are taking our tax dollars as well. Its more like a United Payday over the minor contribution they actually have on community impact.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was just shy of a million.

Anonymous said...

I work at a supermarket that's in 6 states and every year I get asked several times whether I'm going to donate to them. They call you in the manager's office, sit you down and give you this whole speech about united way and how much they do for our community. Once I say no they send me out, only to call me back in later to make sure I didn't wanna donate, I remind them I do not want to, then sometimes they'll call me back in a third time and mention that their boss, one of the big wigs, wants them to ask me one last time. That's as close to forcing people to donate as they can get.

Anonymous said...

Pacific Gas and Electric is taking a new tact, same as the old just different. They are offering employees a chance to win Giant's vs Royals World Series ticket if they donate to United Way.

Dave said...

I'd like to share my perspective to the above. When I started working in 1979, I too was pressured by my company to give to UW and I did not like that. At that point, I would say that a little of that was encouraged by UW, but the bulk of it was specific to my company's management - it was part of their culture and belief system to give to charity and UW was the designated one. However, that situation changed with my employer over 30 years ago - about as old as some of the war stories listed above. The UW has been discouraging this type of behavior in donor companies for at least 25 years - but company management will do what they wish to do.
Despite that experience, I started to get involved with UW agencies in the 1980's and was absolutely stunned at how much work they did with poor, disabled, and otherwise severely troubled people within the community. I became a lifetime financial supporter of the UW then and still am today. I began doing unpaid volunteer work with the UW and some of its agencies in 1992 and continue to do that work today.
As to comments like "I know 5 (0r 25 0r 100) people who have been coerced to give to the UW, I'm not surprised. The UW is by far the largest workplace fundraising organization in the US and the world - asking millions of people each year to please donate through the workplace campaign. Given that sometimes managers see raising charitable dollars as a badge of honor, I'm not surprised this still goes bad occasionally. Blame the managers - not the UW.
As to 211, in most states this was originally a government function and in some is still 100% funded and/or run by the government. However, many states decided to push this off onto the UW - sometimes with some funding but in many cases not. So yes, some of the donors dollars are funding 211 and part comes from governments. But 211 would not exist in most geographies without the UW. People call 211 when they have big and urgent issues - like nothing to feed the kids, can't pay the rent and being evicted, abuse, etc. You can decide whether you want your charitable donations to go to that or not but please don't criticize those of us who are willing to help fund that service.
How many of you have sat on a UW salary review committee as a volunteer? I have been on several and seen the data about how UW salaries compare to equivalent roles in the for profit sector. UW is dramatically lower, of course. It is naïve to believe that people work there to get rich.
As background, I would describe myself very much as a free market capitalist and a conservative. I think our federal government is way too big and wasteful and needs to be shrunk considerably. But, I personally believe in private charity and volunteerism as a much more efficient and close to the action substitute for more government intervention - which obviously is neither efficient or effective. I would encourage you to go get some first hand experience with some of the work being done in agencies who are at least partially funded by UW.

Steve Collins said...

Several years ago a friend and I tried to help raise money for a children's service that was almost about to close by helping them raise money. We went to several local businesses and had them assist us in a kick off that took the city by storm. Patrick Wayne, John Wayne's son, all the local stations had the kick off on TV. The next morning the board call an emergency meeting and shut it down. United Way hadn't approved it, weren't getting their cut so they shut it down. Luckily, due to the exposure two wealthy families donated $100,000 each and the center survived. Less than a year later the head of National United Way was busted for buying hooker's and cash to big doners. Have hated United Way ever since.

Hershblogger said...

Steve Collins,

United Way is to charity what the Clinton Foundation is to diarrhea in Africa.

Can't preserve the necessary levels of graft and corruption if we let citizens make their own choices and flout the closed shop.

Anonymous said...

I've worked for several banks and all of them have "forced" me to donate to United Way. Some worse than others. It could be as little as 10 cents but the bank I am at right now, based out of Atlanta, it's one dollar minimum each paycheck. Now, we're not talking a huge amount however $24 a year is almost 3 month of Netflix or another streaming service I subscribe to. Also what bother me is the shadiness of it. The "sure you don't HAVE to participate..." but if you don't then your whole branch will be angry with you because the branch will not receive 100% participation. And as much turnover as there is in banks nobody wants to give their manager a reason to be "on the radar". And living in a right to work state they can fire anyone for whatever reason they choose whenever they choose.

So that's just my two cents.

Zyrover said...

That is unreal and very unfair.

Anonymous said...

I worked for a national bank, based out of ohio, and they would ask us how much we were donating to UW before giving us a bonus, implying the two were related...

I'm now in a different industry and getting multiple emails a week to donate thru the company...and it's NOT anonymous donations, my employee must be attached...I've been asked to donate a four figure sum...

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more. An organization this large in the private sector would command a ceo salary of 10 mil+. Do the revenue comparasons.

I am not saying do or do not give to United Way...but don't use the ceo salary as your excuse.

fishbait weaselbone said...

Years ago a local factory "encouraged" their employees to sign up for regular payroll deductions for our local United Way. Those who agreed were promised a free steak dinner. Of course you didn't HAVE to contribute BUT if they didn't get %100 participation then NO one got a free steak dinner. Many of those who opposed the United Way thought this was a raw deal but they certainly didn't want to be the one black sheep that prevented everyone else who had already committed to comply from losing their meal. Real classy.

The United Way in this area seems to go thru new directors every year or so. I recall when they came to make a presentation at our company NOBODY signed up.

I lost all respect for them when the recession hit our area and a lot of people lost their jobs at the local factories. Hundreds of displaced workers approached the United Way for financial help but were told "Oh! We don't work that way...we don't help individuals , we are a 'distributive' charity!"

Jacki S said...

united way is and has been a corrupted charity.
1982 comes to mind ceo steals 3 miliion. Then the judge rewards him 2.8 million in bonuses ...he was a fixture and has been stealing for 10 yrs. or more . But he was "old" so no prison for him. just cannot work in nonprofit again...
go figure@!:%= the american way.

Hershblogger said...

Check this link for a car dealer in Traverse City who has withdrawn from UW:

Anonymous said...

I used to support United Way as I enjoyed community sevices that arw funded by them, until I did my co-op hours with them for my community work program and found out the truth from the inside.
United Way is considered "designated" charity by the government. They are very high profile and that explains their executives high compensation, which I have no comment because I believe it's determined by the market to retain talents. The issues I have with United Way are:
1) Employees don't have much to do except from going to meetings all day for show. A lot of tedious work are allocated to continuous source of volunteers and intern students.
2) They force people to donate, not just through internal campaign for intern and volunteer like me, and employees of funded agencies, they required 100% participation rate. And I heard from campaign representatives that one needs to donate if their company supports United Way, otherwise they need to fill out forms and explain why they chose not to donate, which no one would do as that makes they look bad in front of their team. Thats not right! Especially many people we as rn a lot less than UW's employees even with similar job titles but they are still forced to donate.
3) Their admin and fundraising fee are very high (even though they told donors that it's less than 20%) but provided the fact they also got a lot of money from governments funding programs that diluted the percentage of their fees from donors portion.
4) Some of their funded agencies are underfunded yet they work very hard With little pay to provide direct service to the public, and they are still forced to donate to UW!!
I feel that when you believe in something it is hard to find out the truth. Regardless my bad experience with UW I still believe in charitable acts and serving community, I would like to encourage potential donors to check open information about any charity through revenue agency website to understand the financial, impact, compensations etc. than to just look at beautiful brochures and flowery words targetted to make you feel good about doing good by donating to them.

justawrench said...

A friend of mine was in charge of the United Way fundraising for her location. She was employed by a large statewide utility. Her son is a Boy Scout and she asked the Untied Way rep. for the organization codes so she could target her contribution to the BSA program in her area. I took her several weeks and numerous phone calls...finally she got an abbreviated list of state charities that they could specify. Under BSA there were only 2 alternatives in SE Michigan where we live. Both the BSA "options" were inner city schools, one in Detroit and the other in Pontiac for the creation and support of units including paid leaders for minorities. The leaders had to be hired and paid as the parents were unwilling to volunteer or participate in the unit. The BSA is run by volunteers on a Unit and District level with very few paid staff except at the higher levels..there are about 100 for the entire state of Michigan (excluding seasonal employees and "outreach' programs such as the Pontiac and Detroit projects.) For several years before the BSA national leadership bowed to fiscal blackmail by corporate sponsors the United Way had frozen and refused to disburse tens of thousands of dollars in BSA targeted donations due to the liberal slant of the Detroit based chapter of the organization. The entire state of Michigan BSA program was reorganized starting in 2008 with the forced merger of the Detroit Area Council with the Oakland and Macomb county based Clinton Valley Council. The Detroit Council mired in debt was not seen as fiscally viable. This was a first prologue to the already planned reorganization of the entire state program into one large cooperative. The United Way held the money until after the change in program instituted by national which was voted down by rank and file scouters to allowing gay scouts.

Anonymous said...

One more reason not to donate to the United Way. It is a long read, but worth it.

Anonymous said...

I sent an email to my HR person and requested that I no longer receive UW emails.
She told me that I could just delete them if I didn't want to donate. I then sent her an email stating that since I live in the state of Pennsylvania, coercion to donate to charity via payroll deduction is illegal, with a link to the Dept of Labor statement. She then sent me an apology and I have not received a UW email since. My manager has also not said anything since. Since I live in PA, if I feel that I am being treated differently because I do not donate I also have cause for a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

holy shit. first nordstrom. now my next potential employer. read the list of individual charities the united way disperses it's donations. 99% chance you will object to how your money is being spent on at least 1 of them.

Shodan Kyokushin said...

I used to donate on a regular basis, primarily to the Salvation Army and the United Way. Then Obama got elected and I began to think a bit before opening my wallet. It occurred to me that the majority of "needy" people in this country who vote, vote Democrat and therefore helped put him in office - twice. My donations ceased immediately. I no longer buy from the Boy Scouts, either. You know why.

Publixperson said...

Happened today at publix

Unknown said...

I just had a UW rally at work today. Last year I had signed up for a couple of dollars to be donated weekly and when I wanted to stop my donations I had to actually print out a form saying I was stopping donations and give it to my manager and have them okay it.

Kristin Martin said...

In this last month of September 2016 I received 25 emails about the United Way Campaign... I am very much tempted to reply all to the emails with a link to this blog.

Unknown said...

WRONG. Look at how many perks the CEO gets. Mansions, cars, groceries, gas, entertainment. All free. Add all that up and it's close to the 10 plus million mentioned above. CEO of Salvation Army makes 30 grand

Unknown said...

Companies use employee donations as corporate tax writeoffs.. thats why so many workplaces push united way.. its a scam

Kellie Selwood said...

I know this is an old string, but in case someone is still "listening". The United Way has now teamed with another organization called: Your Cause. Your Cause is just another name the United Way is using. After Your Cause took over my company's charity system... my automatic payroll deductions which FOR YEARS were going to the same educational institution were hijacked and forwarded to a dubious charity I'd never heard of. This was done without my consent. When I contacted Your Cause (aka The United Way). I was told that they converted the information by EIN and that it wasn't possible for them to have made a mistake so I must've made it. Yeah, okay, except I have documentary proof that all my money went to the right place until, coincidentally, the exact month that Your Cause (aka The United Way) took over. This organization, no matter what you call it, is scum. They are unethical b@stards who use your money for their own personal gain and have absolutely no qualms about stealing from you.

Kellie Selwood said...

I know this is an old string, but in case someone is still "listening". The United Way has now teamed with another organization called: Your Cause. Your Cause is just another name the United Way is using. After Your Cause took over my company's charity system... my automatic payroll deductions which FOR YEARS were going to the same educational institution were hijacked and forwarded to a dubious charity I'd never heard of. This was done without my consent. When I contacted Your Cause (aka The United Way). I was told that they converted the information by EIN and that it wasn't possible for them to have made a mistake so I must've made it. Yeah, okay, except I have documentary proof that all my money went to the right place until, coincidentally, the exact month that Your Cause (aka The United Way) took over. This organization, no matter what you call it, is scum. They are unethical b@stards who use your money for their own personal gain and have absolutely no qualms about stealing from you.

patrick sumerlin said...

My past employer pushed 100% employee participation to United way like it was something fishy. Anyway...did this for 24 years during my career. My reward, when my company closed on me after investing 24 years of my life, I got absolute zero help from United way. United way sucks and I hate them.

Anonymous said...

I resisted the United Way arm twisting on principle. Then after I did a little research on what groups received money from them I actively fight them.

Red cross? possibly even worse. Among other underhanded tricks they buy out other blood suppliers, obtain a monopoly over the local supply then raise the price.

My money goes to the Salvation Army and the Epilepsy Foundation. Send yours where you want why let the United Way skim a percentage off the top,

Anonymous said...

I worked for a Company that the boss would bring you into the office and would hound you until you signed a donation card if you didn't he would make your life Hell. I even started taking my Vacation when the 2 week push to give was going on so I didn't have to listen to the BS. I came back to work after my vacation and looked at my paycheck and I saw a donation to the United Way, I confronted my Boss and he told me he signed a card for me...Long story short, I called the DA and they prosecuted him for theft and the Company gave me $25,000 to keep my mouth shut. Chalk 1 up for the little guy! Screw the United Way! I think Companies get kick backs for the percentage of the proceeds.

Daddy E said...

Although I hate the coercion involved (Canadian government managers get bonuses according how much money their section raises), I have to push back on salaries. We tend to celebrate successful people in organisations that extract, pollute or destroy (minerals and arms) but hold those who create a net positive to a separate standard.

Hershblogger said...

Daddy E,

So, you'd rather not celebrate producers you regard as anti-social? Have you considered what would happen to the Canadian economy without those who extract natural resources? The United Way in the US would have to put Canada on its list of charities.

You don't say so, but since you left us to figure out who the "net positive" heroes are, I'm going to guess environmentalists who oppose resource extraction, pacifists who oppose national defense, and virtue signaling government bureaucrats who get bonuses (funded by taxes on resource producers) for extracting UW contributions from government employees (funded by taxes on resource producers). Whether that's true or not, what has it to do with the UW?

Anonymous said...

I sold printing to our local United Way. The annual job was a big one and I was told that an out-of-state printer got the low bid (not by much) and they would get the business. I pointed out to UW that the out-of-state printer would not contribute a dime to this UW chapter, whereas all the workers I represented donated very generously. I myself even spearheaded the campaign at my company and the last year I did so I improved the dollars raised for UW by 10%. They said "business is business" and they had to go with the low bid. I never contributed to United Way again. It's been 25 years now since that happened. I've done very well financially in the meantime and my wife and I contribute generously to lots of our favorite charities directly -- but never to United Way. Their short-sightedness was appalling.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this communication. It is vital to spare people from making the hugely damaging though best-intentioned mistake that I made. While employed by a corporation for 14 years, I foolishly believed the United Way campaigns and gave nearly $10,000 over 14 years to the United Way. Now, I am over 60, nobody wants to employ me anymore, I can't find affordable rental housing. And when I have called the United Way, because many of the dead-end searches for affordable housing tell us to call the United Way, I get nothing but a very calm Satanic voice on the other end of the phone telling me that the United Way can only refer me to all of the other fruitless organizations yielding nothing that I have tried for nearly a year. IT'S ALL GREED for the wealthiest 1%.
And in addition to the United Way being incredibly EVIL, so are all of the "faith-based" cons. The Baby Boomers are being genocided, after working all of our lives for a retirement we will never get. If Americans truly had any courage, if this really were the Land of the Brave, a Revolution would have taken place already. GENOCIDE is happening all around us, and the United Way is one of the perpetrators.

Anonymous said...

One could conclude that the only "United" in the United Way, just as in the Unconscionable Shitholers of Averice controllers, is the united robbing of the poor and working stiffs to give to the already obscenely wealthy. REVOLUTION is long overdue.
Look at all of these United Way CRIMINALS. These are some of the ones who got caught, think how many United Way perpetrators there still are, nationwide. (Google "United Way guilty" for more. And look at the dates of these GUILTY reports, decades old, why is this INSATIABLE FRAUD/PARASITE allowed to still prey on and rob (and never help) hardworking, poorer-every-decade American people?: