Every year in our region something remarkable happens -- thousands of individuals and companies donate money to help our friends and neighbors in need here at home, and then volunteers work hard to invest those funds in specific programs within agencies across the Valley. These decisions make a real impact in the lives of local people through United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley and United Way Community Partners.
United Way works closely with its community partners to ensure that your generous donations are carefully and thoughtfully put to good use to fund programs that help in the four priority areas of United Way: Basic Needs, Income, Health and Education. This hard work is done by a group of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time to make these important decisions.
Volunteer Recruitment -- The United Way allocations process starts by bringing together volunteer donors who live and work in the Chattahoochee Valley. This year, 71 volunteers are helping with the allocation process. These volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the more than 20,000 United Way donors. Volunteers participate in a review process to ensure that funds are distributed fairly, objectively and with great consideration for their best use.
Financial Review Process -- United Way recruits a separate group of volunteer donors who have a background and expertise in accounting and finance. These volunteers receive a one-hour training on the agency budget review process. The financial review volunteers are tasked with making sure that each program and agency are good stewards of all the funds they receive. Volunteers meticulously review budgets, tax documents and audits.
Volunteer Education -- Volunteers who are participating in the overall agency review process attend a 3-hour training session. Volunteers learn about the importance of building a stronger community by investing in a system of quality agencies that help people in need. Training includes an overview of the agency application process, the allocations review process, and the United Way's commitment to invest in programs that demonstrate Need, Stewardship and Results. Each non-profit is required to meet the standards to maintain United Way funding.
On-Site Visits -- Armed with the best training, volunteer groups are dispatched to visit those agencies requesting funding from United Way. They conduct an in-depth review of the programs through site visits and reviews of annual reporting submitted by the agencies. This year 26 different agencies will be visited and 53 programs will be reviewed by nine community investment teams.
Debriefing -- Following the site visits, volunteers meet to discuss their findings about each program. They also provide feedback and identify the strengths within each program.
Allocations -- Agencies request funding based on the particular need in our community for the service they provide. Based on the knowledge gained through the allocations process, volunteers must come to a consensus about how much money each program will receive in the coming year. Volunteers determine funding needs based on the merits of the requests and the ability of the program to demonstrate Need, Stewardship and Results.
Approval and Distribution -- Once all of the funding recommendations are compiled, each recommendation is presented to the United Way Board of Directors for approval. Following approval, funds are distributed to the agencies in the next fiscal year, beginning in July 2013.
To find out more information about United Way and our Community Partners go to www.unitedwayofthecv.org.
Adelaide Kirk, 2013 Allocations chair, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley; www.unitedwayofthecv.org.