Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Why give to United Way?
It makes a difference. You are making an investment that benefits the entire community, not just one program, issue, or population, and this leads to a stronger, more sustainable place to live and work. United Way leverages your contribution by combining it with others and strategically investing in results-driven programs and initiatives to maximize the impact we have in the community.
As Mayor Tommy Battle expresses it, "LIVING UNITED for me is the opportunity for my family and I to help others out that may need a hand. One of my favorite quotes expresses what I mean. A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty. I give to the United Way of Madison County to help support many different programs here in Huntsville. It’s neighbors helping neighbors by LIVING UNITED."
What is the focus of United Way of Madison County?
Here at United Way, we focus on education, income and health as the building blocks of a good life.
What if I don't think I can afford to give?
By using United Way’s payroll deduction plan, you can invest a small amount each pay period, and see it add up to a significant gift by year’s end. Skipping just one trip to the vending machine a week can add up to almost $50, which could provide a dental cleaning to a child in need.
Where does the money go?
A volunteer team of experts in our three focus areas- education, income and health- ensure your money is invested wisely in collaborative partner programs that help those least able to help themselves. These programs include after-school and mentoring activities that keep children safe and productive when they are not in school, financial literacy to help people achieve economic stability and self-sufficiency, pediatric dental services in medically underserviced areas, and more.
How do people get help from United Way?
United Way supports 30 programs that help people every day. People looking for assistance can also contact 2-1-1.
What percentage of my donation is retained by United Way?
Less than fifteen 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.
Who decides how much money each agency should have? Why do some get more funding than others?
Community volunteers are trained to make the funding decisions. Please notes that United Way of Madison County funds PROGRAMS, not AGENCIES. The volunteers spend several months reviewing the program funding requests submitted by the agencies who administer the programs. Also, each agency is given the opportunity to to present their program requests to the volunteers. After carefully considering the priority needs of the community, the committee makes recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors. A network of checks and balances is created by the continous monitoring of the agencies receiving funding so that United Way can be accountable for your contributions and funding decisions.
Allocations to agencies are determined by the needs of the community and the programs that agencies conduct to meet those needs. Both needs and programs are under constant study to ensure that programs that are meeting priority needs are well-matched with funding. Allocations are made each year on the basis of the best available information.
Click here for more information on the Funding Process.
I work for what I get. Let others do the same.
This statement reflects a misunderstaning of our purpose. Let cerebral palsy youngsters train and educate themselves? Let the homebound sick nurse themselves? Let children organize and operate character-building, educational, and recreational programs? You can go on and on. Our programs are not charity handouts; they are services to help people who cannot help themselves. While many families use these programs, others consider like insurance. You hope you never need these services, but their value is immeasurable if you do.
Does United Way of Madison County support abortion?
We do not provide funding from the community pool for any programs that provide abortion services. However, if a donor specifically designates their gift to an agency that does provide abortions, we must honor that designtaion as long as the agency is a 501(c)(3) organization.