Does the United Way of Thunder Bay operate efficiently?

The United Way of Thunder Bay is a locally operated, autonomous organization which has its own by-laws and volunteer Board of Directors. The United Way of Thunder Bay operates on a basis of sound financial practices. Our Annual Financial Statements are available online in our Annual Report and at our office where we are always happy to answer further questions.

Our total fundraising costs as a percentage of revenue averages between 21-23% over the last five years, depending on how well the campaign closes each year. This ratio is well within Canada Revenue Agency’s regulations. One of the ways we are able to accomplish this low rate is by the thousands of hours people volunteer each year and the generosity of gift-in-kind sponsors.

Doesn’t a lot of money allocated to the agencies go to their Administrator?

Many people confuse administration with the salaries of services staff. There could not be a counselling service without a counsellor, a recreation program without a leader, or a training program without a teacher. It is true that the largest single item in most agencies’ budgets is salaries, but only a small portion of these salaries is used for administration.

Why aren’t all fundraising charities members of the United Way?

United Way of Thunder Bay is committed to an extensive, ongoing assessment of community needs to ensure that funds are allocated where they are most needed. Each year, our volunteer Allocations Committee along with the Board of Directors review the charitable organizations that apply to the United Way for funding to decide where best your dollars should be spent and ensure that community needs are met. Funding is currently directed to these areas of need:

  • From Poverty to Possibility – preventing & moving out of poverty by enhancing life skills & meeting basic human needs
  • Healthy People, Strong Communities – supporting mental & physical health, creating a strong & safe community for all
  • All That Kids Can Be – providing children & youth with support & skills for a bright future

Why do some of your agencies raise funds and/or charge fees?

The United Way does not fund 100% of agencies’ budgets. United Way funds are used only for the delivery of specific services and programs. Agencies are required to find supplementary sources of funding for capital and operational expenses.

I’d like to give to the United Way, but I don’t like (agency).

The needs assessment process of the United Way is designed to ensure that every funded service and program meets a community need. Each funded organization is financially accountable to the United Way through an annual review of its budget and operations. However, our donor option policy allows donors to give to specific United Way funded agency (or agencies) as well as to any registered Canadian charity.

Why should I give to the United Way instead of directly to an Agency?

Seven panels of experienced volunteers make up the United Way Allocations Committee. Thirty seven dedicated volunteers donate 800 hours to this process. The committee reviews the performance of each funded agency annually, ensuring that campaign contributions are spent wisely and effectively in our community. You also have the ability to give to a number of agencies with one easy donation.

How much should I give?

The decision to give and how much to give are very personal and depend upon many factors. As a guideline, the Canadian Labour Congress and Canadian Chamber of Commerce were Independently asked some years ago to suggest what they considered to be a reasonable guide for individual giving to United Way. The result was the concept of “fair share” giving, which ties the amount of the contribution to salary earned. The suggested amount is the equivalent of 15 minutes pay per week or an hour per month. However, any amount is much appreciated and makes an impact. No amount is too small– every dollar counts!

My spouse gives at work. Why should I give?

As an individual, your gift is important too! When employees are canvassed, they are asked to give according to their own income, not family income. United Way asks that each of us make a contribution based on our own income level. You and your spouse can also make a combined gift of $1,200 or more to become Leaders of the Way.

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